Agave Spirits for the Holidays: Tips From Experts on How To Use Agave Spirits In Your Holiday Meals

According to data from SevenFiftyDaily, tequila is the most popular alcoholic beverage consumed by younger generations. Tequila is consumed more in the United States than American whiskey. Tequila sales in the United States almost doubled between February 2020 and February 2023, growing from 1.49 billion dollars to 2.9 billion dollars. Sales of mezcal also increased, from 24.5 million dollars to 59.5 million dollars (a 143 percent increase).

How to pair Agave Spirits in your holiday plans

Born and raised in Costa Rica, self-taught tequila maker Carlos Soto encourages us to consider agave spirits when it comes to holiday food and beverage pairings.

“Tequila might not be the first drink to come to mind when you’re planning a holiday dinner, but it can be an unexpected and enjoyable addition to your party,” says Soto. “From a host’s point of view, mezcal and tequila can be a great change of pace for a holiday dinner that wine may not be able to provide.”

Soto started his tequila & mezcal business as a college project while studying in L.A., but never expected his very first bottling to go on to win Double Gold best in class Tequila at San Francisco’s world spirits competition. Bottled in a women’s-owned & operated distillery owned and operated by master distiller Citlalli Ovalle, Soto’s brand has grown from a wild card in the tequila world to making him a Forbes Under 30 finalist for the 2023 edition.

Agave spirits can be used in a variety of ways in cocktails, so there’s an Agave cocktail for every occasion. This can lead to some interesting conversations at the dinner table. The versatility of Agave tequilas means you can choose one that pairs well with the flavours of your holiday meal. For example, you can choose a Blanco tequila with fruity notes and citrus to pair with salad or turkey. Or, you can opt for a more robust aged tequila that pairs well with roasted meats, savoury sides, and even dessert.

From Chicago’s Osito’s Tap owner Mike Moreno Jr., Alma del Jaguar is a seasonal tequila made sustainably and certified additive-free to support the wild jaguar population in Mexico. It combines some of Moreno Jr.’s favourite holiday dishes with Alma del Jaguar.

Tequila pairs well with a variety of Christmas dishes, including certain types of cheese, he adds. “If you’re looking for a cheese to pair with your tequila, Manchego is a great option. Manchego can add a nutty flavour to your aged tequila, similar to the reposado notes.” If seafood is a big part of your holiday menu, he recommends pairing it with tequila-infused dishes, such as grilled shrimp and fish tacos. Tequila and lime butter sauce can also enhance the flavours.

“Alma del Jaguar Blanco’s fruity, citrus notes can also pair well with roasted turkey, and it pairs well with fruit-based holiday recipes, ” Moreno says. “You can use it in cranberry sauce, citrus glazed hams or even in a fruit salad.”

There are many ways to pair the Reposado. For example, you could pair it with a cinnamon-scented Mexican hot chocolate. Or, you could use it to make a delicious tequila-studded cake. The key is to think about the flavors of your food and the flavor of the tequila. That way, you can create a perfect pairing that will elevate your dining experience.

Mexican holiday cuisine is a great match for agave spirits. “It’s a natural match,” Guindi says. Guindi is co-founder and co-owner of Mexican owned Mexa Brands. “We partner with small producers throughout the country to bring you exceptional artisanal spirits from all over the country.” Based in Mexico City and Los Angeles, Mexa Brands’ portfolio includes tequilas and mezcals, as well as lesser-known distillates like sotol, raicilla, bacanora and more.

Mexa Tequila Tequila Tahona will complement the rich, earthy flavors of a typical Christmas Eve meal, such as a riseritos con mole, Guindi says. “Romeritos are a Mexican green relative of amaranth that is traditionally cooked in a special mole with dried shrimp for a strong and earthy flavor profile,” Guindi explains. “The pairing works well as the tequila begins with sweet notes followed by the classic bitter notes of the agave and the smoky and earthy quality of the Tahona process.

A fruitcake would be a great accompaniment to our raicilla de Piedra. It has a sweet aroma and a fruity taste,” he says. “There’s no better way to start a new year than with a bowl of hot pozole and mezcal. Our Mexa ensamble of Espadín and Tbalá balances each other out, and the Tbalá has a slightly spiced flavor.”

If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-track pairing that pairs well with a range of holiday favourites, check out Raj Mamba. Created by MINA Group’s Raj Parr in MINA’s Clock Bar at the St. Francis hotel, Parr simply mixes a dry Champagne, typically Krug, with a mezcal shot, to be drunk simultaneously but on its own.

Champagne works because it cleanses the palate after drinking mezcal, but you can’t use Prosecco or sparkling wine, only champagne. I love ZOMOZ mezcal with champagne. Try this for your New Year’s toast and impress your guests.

Aguasol Tequila is a brand distilled at a family-owned distillery in Cascahuín, NOM 1123, according to Dillon Keeler, a bartender at Austin’s Suerte. “Tequila is supposed to go with everything, especially with good people,” Keeler says. “If I had to choose one thing, I’d say tequila would go great with dessert. I’m a big fan of pecan pie, and I’d definitely pair it with a tequila reposado or an añejo.

Aguasol’s proceeds support the Careyes Foundation, a non-profit organization based in the Mexican state of Jalisco, which supports innovative education, environmental, wellness, and artistic initiatives to enhance the quality of life in 12 rural communities along Mexico’s South Pacific coast. It tastes good and it does good.