What we’re drinking: Casa Rica, a new line of tequilas of a particularly interesting hue .
Where it’s from: Casa Rica is a California-based tequila started by (in part) former restaurateur Justin Urich, who was inspired by barrel-finished picks he was making during his trips to Mexico. The tequila’s NOM is 1424, meaning the liquid is distilled at Jalisco’s Destiladora de Agave Azul.
Why we’re drinking this: Pink tequilas have been slowly making their way into the mainstream (see: Calirosa, Código 1530 Rosa, etc.), but those offerings are rested in wine barrels to achieve that color and additional flavor notes.
It’s a bit different with Casa Rica. “The Rosado is our conversation piece,” Urich tells us. “We’re tinting with a mature agave plant. I had noticed red spots on some of the piñas — I grabbed it and it stained my hands like ink. It’s when the agave plant starts to self-ferment; I was like, can we harness that?” So the distillery extracted and macerated it, then made it into a dye. From there, they received permission from the Consejo Regulador del Tequila (CRT) to use it in their tequila blanco.
That said, only one of the three releases from Casa Rosa is pink; the brand also offers up a Blanco and a Reposado, the latter of which also goes through a unique finishing process.
How It Tastes
All three releases are 40% ABV using estate-grown agave.
- Blanco: Distilled twice and filtered three times, you’ll get a lot of grass on the nose and lemon and peppery notes on the palate — along with, interestingly enough, vanilla notes that you’d seem to more likely find in an aged tequila. (The distillery credits those notes to some indigenous trees that grow on the property and “influences” the agave, not anything artificial.)
- Rosado: Very similar to the Blanco in flavor (the citrus-y notes are slightly more present), the rosado is distilled and filtered twice. While it seems natural for a cocktail, Urich suggests it more as a sipper. “The second you put in citrus, it loses its hue, though there are liqueurs and mixers that can help it keep its color in a drink,” he says.
- Reposado: While a fairly light hay color, the reposado is going to appeal to bourbon fans. Credit a triple-barrel process that includes time in new American and new French oak — that extra maturation brings out oaky, butterscotch, creme brûlée and vanilla flavors.
Interesting fact: Casa Rica’s distiller is Zandra Gomez Santiago, one of the few female distillers in tequila … or, really, in spirits in general (Urich estimates the number might be as little as 8% across all spirits).
Where to buy it: Casa Rica is available in stores in California and directly online in dozens of states here.
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