While all kinds of craft distilleries are popping up in Colorado, none of them manufactures actual tequila. That’s because in order to qualify as tequila, the spirit must be made in Mexico, from Mexican agave. But there are Colorado-based companies that sell tequila, most notably Arta Tequila, which Denverite Tony Mayer founded here in 2011. Arta Tequila will release the first batch of its five-year aged Extra Añejo Tequila on Tuesday, May 5, in numbered and signed bottles (only four batches, with 1,000 bottles produced in each batch). The suggested retail price is between $99 and $115 a bottle.
“At Arta, we respect tradition but also think outside the box, which has already impressed the palates of some of the most sophisticated tequila aficionados and won some coveted awards,” says Mayer. “Our Extra Añejo is aged for five years, and our triple-barreled process creates a complexity and a bounty of aromas that simply defies convention.”
Unlike many tequila companies, Arta uses only agave grown on a single, family-run estate to ensure that it is of the highest quality and is pesticide-free, Mayer notes. After crushing the agave four times over to remove the juices, the third-generation master distiller uses proprietary yeast from fruit extracts and water from its private aquifer to craft Arta Tequila — which Mayer then markets here.
You can taste this new Extra Añejo for yourself when it’s released tomorrow in Denver. And if you'd rather toast Cinco de Mayo with a cocktail than a shot, here are two recipes featuring Arta Tequila from Cody Poirot, a mixologist with Richard Sandoval’s Zengo and La Biblioteca.
2 oz Arta Añejo Tequila
.5 oz agave syrup
Muddle lime and cilantro, shake and pour into a rocks glass, top w/ mole bitters and cilantro sprig plus lime slice garnish.
1.5 oz Arta Blanco Tequila
Two splashes lime juice
Top with ginger beer, serve on ice in a copper mug.