With hues that span from a delicate carnation blush to a deep grapefruit-flesh glow, a new crop of distinctly pink tequilas has arrived.
Often called “rosa” or “rosado,” these expressions are mostly achieved by resting tequila in casks that previously held red wines. While not a direct marriage of tequila and rosé wine, the crossover is definitely part of the appeal.
“People do indeed drink with their eyes,” says Richard Betts, cofounder of Casa Komos Beverage Group, which released Komos Tequila Reposado Rosa in 2021. The spirit was aged in a mix of wine barrels from Napa and Sonoma. Betts spotlights how the barrels from Hirsch Vineyards, known for its Pinot Noir, contributed layers of juicy berry and pink peppercorn against a lively agave backdrop.
Yet, the rosé boom isn’t the only reason tequila makers are thinking pink. Certainly, the red-hot tequila market is ripe for experimentation.
It’s also recognition that, in Mexico, many distilleries have used red wine casks for decades, even though most tequilas that reach the U.S. market are rested in ex-whiskey barrels. That practice is a byproduct of the abundance of once-used barrels from U.S. bourbon distillers.
Juicy berry frames an otherwise classic tequila profile marked by jalapeño, pink peppercorn and a hint of graphite.
A pleasing peppery tingle and mild floral notes lead into a long, delicate finish; look for a tawny tinge, not outright pink.
Lychee and coconut mingle with touches of bubble gum and grapefruit pith in this pale petal-pink tequila.
This article originally appeared in the May 2022 issue of Wine Enthusiast magazine. Click here to subscribe today!