Tenth Ward Bottle Club Release: Ancho Agave Spirit
Written by Bret Kimbrough, Manager, Distilling and Operations
In the high altitudes of Mexico, 5,000 feet up or more, grows a curious plant. It looks like an armored green hedgehog with a gigantic pineapple in the middle, but believe it or not, it is part of the asparagus family. This plant, the blue agave, has ancient and sacred status in its home territory of Jalisco, Mexico, and is the sole ingredient for one of the world’s most famous and infamous spirits.
According to the Archives of the District of Oaxaca, tequila gets its name from the Aztec language word meaning “place of tribute”. Since around 300 A.D. the Aztecs have used agave to make a ceremonial wine called pulque, which was used in the worship of two important gods.
Around the year 1,000, the Aztecs developed a way to refine the pulque, and the first kind of tequila was born, although the tequilas we recognize today weren’t developed until the 17th century. In the following millennium, tequila, and its smokey sibling, mezcal, have taken the world by storm as one of the planet’s favorite sippers and mixers. Very few, if any, spirits have this sort of antique pedigree and that makes tequila very special indeed in the world of distilling.
We have made our own version of this venerable spirit and combined it with one of our own signature house whiskeys and some smokey, fruity ancho chile to create a one-of-a-kind drink that definitely wards off ordinary.
First, we fermented and distilled organic agave syrup together with pure cane sugar to make what would be called in distilling language a ‘mixto” tequila. While we can’t call our version tequila because it is made outside of Jalisco, we can assure you that we took all measures of care and respect in our production to honor this age-old spirit. We then let that spirit rest for a time in smoked bourbon barrels to pick up some of that rich smokey oak character. After the barrel rest, we blended the agave spirit with some of our smoked corn whiskey to give it a mezcal-like savoriness and infused the whole thing with ancho chile. A little back sweetening with more organic agave nectar and voila! You have all the makings of fiesta right there in your bottle. Your margarita, tequila sunrise, or paloma will never be the same. Anywhere you would like a little spice, this mixture will bring a touch of heat and a ton of flavor. Substitute this spirit in anything from a bloody mary to a vodka and tonic and you will see how versatile it really is.
Ingredients: Dark organic blue agave nectar, pure cane sugar, and ancho chile.
Tasting Notes: All the classic lime, salt, orange and sugary flavors of a great tequila with hints of cocoa, dried fruit and chile thanks to a heaping helping of ancho, and a touch of oak smoke from our smoked corn whiskey. The chile heat is mild. Just enough to wake up your tongue and complement the complexity of the agave. We don’t want any of these delicious flavors to get lost in a capsaicin conflagration.
How to Mix It
1.5 oz Tenth Ward Ancho Agave Spirit
1 oz Triple Sec
0.5 oz lime juice
salt rim and lime slice garnish
Rim a chilled glass with lime, pour all ingredients into a shaker, shake and strain into rocks glass, garnish
2 oz Tenth Ward Ancho Agave Spirit
2 oz grapefruit juice
.5 oz lime juice
.25 oz simple syrup
2 oz sparkling water
Lime wheel garnish
Salt the rim of a highball glass, fill with ice, add ingredients to glass. Top with soda, stir.
1.5 oz Tenth Ward Ancho Agave Spirit
3 oz orange juice
.5 oz grenadine syrup
Maraschino cherry garnish
Fill glass with ice, add Agave Spirit and orange juice, slowly pour in the grenadine, garnish.
How do I get my hands on it???
Not a member of our quarterly bottle club? Not a problem, head over to tenthwarddistilling.com/clubs/ to join or talk to one of our incredible staff members next time you visit. Not only does membership get you access to our special quarterly releases, but also invitations to member-only events, and access to members-only menu items.
Looking for that perfect gift for a fellow spirits lover? You can give a club membership as a gift!