Didn’t know tequila could be “healthy”? There once was a time when Patron Tequila was seen as the best of the best tequilas on the general market. A top shelf brand, pushing the highest priced margaritas at most bars, Patron used to be one of the few tequila brands to offer 100% Agave nectar-made liquor.
Step aside Patron. It’s 2011, and this is no longer the case thanks to merging/emerging brands and entrepreneurs. Not only do Americans have access to a huge number of new liquor brands, there’s this national campaign for healthy-eating, which includes replacing processed sugars with high-glycemic profiles for low-glycemic natural sugars such as agave, stevia, coconut sugar, etc. A lot of Americans are trying to eat and drink healthy, looking for “whole” and “natural” products. And with the economic downturn of a couple years ago, people are not only looking for healthier options, but cheaper options.
Thanks to Pura Vida Tequila, millions of Texans have access to some of the best 100% Agave Azul (i.e “Blue”) silver, reposado, and añejo tequilas on the market. With the population of Texas growing over 5 million in the past decade, partly due to the economic slowdown across the country, Texas has seen a great deal of growth in the liquor-making business.
A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of trying all three of Pura Vida‘s tequilas (their “Extra Añejo” tequila is coming out soon) including a bottled Sangrita (think Bloody-Mary meets spicier+tequila). The silver had no burn, and tasted clear, crisp, and worthy of drinking neat. I was extremely impressed. The Añejo has a slight smokiness to it, not like a burnt-agave tasting Mezcal, but a nice hint from aging for at least a year in Kentucky Bourbon oak barrels giving it natural color and flavor. I hope Pura Vida is available in bars all over the country some day soon. The silver was one of the best I’ve ever had. The drinkability is amazing. The best thing about Pura Vida — great quality for low-cost.
Another 100% Agave Tequila you can find at most liquor stores is Camarena. Also made with blue agave, Camarena is selling on the bottom shelves at liquor stores in NYC and NJ (where I saw it), for bottom prices since it is a fairly new brand. But in comparison to those bottom three shelves of tequila brands, Camarena outranks them all. It’s simple, unpretentious bottle is higher on the “totem pole” of taste. Camarena ages their reposado for 80 days in American oak barrels for natural coloring, and the silver isn’t some over-distilled harsh tequila. You get more bang for your buck as they say, and can I say a healthier bang? Tequila is known for reducing bad cholesterol and aiding in digestion, if moderately consumed. Thanks to no added artificial or high-glycemic sugars, and a natural coloring, there are even fewer negatives to consuming tequila. So, have your blood-orange margarita, 100% Agave-style.
Other low-cost 100% Agave Tequilas:
Other than Cabo-Wabo or Patron, try Herradura, Don Eduardo and Cazadores, all brands offer 100% Agave nectar tequilas.
How to find a 100% Agave Tequila:
The best thing to do is look at the website. Pura Vida Tequila is available in select bars/restaurants throughout Texas. Camarena is sold in liquor stores throughout NY and NJ, including some bars and restaurants. To Purchase/Find more information on other tequilas, go to the website: Camarena, Herradura, Don Eduardo and Cazadores.
GOVERNMENT WARNING: (1) According to the Surgeon general, women should not drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy because of the risk of birth defects. (2) Consumption of alcoholic beverages impairs your ability to drive a car or operate machinery, and may cause health problems.
Rebekah Pizana is a professional food writer, pastry chef and licensed business owner. As a food columnist for the Loudoun Times-Mirror for 5 years. she was thrown into the food industry doing everything from attending national food events, coordinating PR for local chefs, to judging pastry at the county’s annual chocolate gala.