Sometimes, choosing between the many types of tequila available can be hard, especially for first timers. Learning the difference between blancos, reposados, and añejos, and discovering our preferences, takes time. However, trying different tequilas is the best way to determine which one is the right for you. There is a new type of tequila, though, that has been gaining a lot of popularity recently. Even when cristalino tequila remains unknown by most, this new version of the spirit is slowly but surely becoming the favorite among connoisseurs.
Before deciding to go buy a bottle, we need to know what exactly cristalino tequila is. There are some very specific differences between cristalinos and other types of tequila that we should understand, too. Even when this is a fairly new take on the spirit, there are some major distillers and that already producing critalino tequila. Here is what you need to know about the newest tequila trend.
What Exactly is a Cristalino Tequila?
Cristalino tequila is the newest trend in the world of tequila, as it is giving a new spin to an already well-known type of this Mexican spirit. Simply put, cristalinos are basically añejos that, after the aging, go through an additional filtering process. This process removes the brown and caramel colors from the liquid. As a result, the tequila becomes crystal clear, similar to a blanco, hence the name.
The Tequila Regulatory Council hasn´t recognized cristalinos as an official type of tequila just yet. Thus, we can refer to this as a different type of tequila añejo, instead, as it goes through the same aging process.
What Is the Difference from Other Tequilas?
There are several differences between cristalinos and the other types of tequilas we already know, including the filtering process. Filtering only the color of an añejo without filtering also the flavors and aromas is an art. Re-distilling the liquor is one of the processes they use to create cristalino tequilas. However, not every distiller follows this process as it takes too long, requires cleaning of equipment, and produces less volume.
When done right, cristalino tequila will keep its aromas, like vanilla, maple, caramel, chocolate, etcetera, which are a result of barrel storage. By creating crystal clear but aged tequila, a new, more exclusive market opens, and more people can enjoy the best añejos in the form of cristalino tequila.
Some Cristalino Tequilas to Try
Cristalino tequilas are rather new to the American market, yet there are approximately 40 brands and producers already selling it. Truth be told, not all of them are being able to master the delicate art of carbon-filtering or re-distilling the spirit. Nevertheless, there are others that are already top of the game, and you should definitely give them a try.
One of the very first producers that offered a cristalino tequila was Don Julio, with their 70 Añejo Claro, released in 2011. Aged for 18 months and then charcoal-filtered, this high-end tequila is ideal to enjoy neat or on the rocks. Its price tag is around the $50 and $60 mark.
If you are looking for a cristalino tequila to use for cocktails, Qui Platinum Extra Añejo is one to try. This tequila goes through an aging process of 42 months in Tennessee whisky and French Bordeaux barrels. Then, it goes through what they call a “proprietary filtration” in order to remove its color. YOu can find this with a price tag of $48 to $54, approximately.