|Viva XXXII Tequila Donates10% of Net Profits to Prevent Animal Abuse|
The tequila gods must have looked down on me favorably for, by coincidence, I got my hands on two taste expressions of Viva XXXII just a couple of weeks before National Tequila Day, July 24.
Both varieties, a Joven and a Reposada, are premium sipping tequilas not meant for pounding down as shots with a squeeze of lime or a beer chaser. This pair is meant to be savored. Personally, I like my tequila neat or chilled, but would avoid serving these two over ice to avoid diluting their flavor or adding whatever tastes the water itself might add to the mix. Instead, I’d suggest letting the tequila sit in the freezer at least an hour before enjoying it ice cold.
The brand founder, Yvonne Niami, had as a goal to bring a premium sipping tequila to the market at an accessible price. Bottled in clear glass decanters with a ziggurat design that evokes (in my mind) the ancient Aztec culture, the blue agave-based beverage is distilled in the Mexican town of, what else, Tequila. If you’re wondering about the image of the Chihuahua (affectionately called Phil) on the side of the bottle, he’s the brand mascot and represents the 10% of the net proceeds donated to prevent animal abuse.
If you’re the type influenced by the medal awards given out at competitions, both domestic and international, Viva XXXII Tequila recently took home a silver at the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition. It’s also gotten some really great reviews from connoisseurs long in the spirits industry.
The first of the two varieties, a Joven Tequila ($40), is a 100% estate grown blue agave blanco blended with Viva XXXII’s 3-year-old extra anejo that is filtered to a point as clear as water. Once in the mouth, the feel is smooth with pronounced notes of pepper, lime and vanilla along with a pleasant sweetness. Later nuanced flavors of lemon peel, baking spices and herbs such as rosemary emerge.
The pale golden colored Reposado is somewhat smoother and sweeter than its Joven cousin and comes with a subdued peppery impact nicely balanced by vanilla and caramel with further notes of lime, roasted almonds and oak from its six month stay in new American oak barrels.
For those who like their tequila in creative cocktails, Viva XXXII collaborated with professional mixologists in Los Angeles and New York for their signature cocktails in time for National Tequila Day enjoyment. What follows is a portfolio of six cocktails along with recipes, directions and tasting notes.
VIVA Summer Solstice by TocaMadera (8450 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048)
1 oz. of Citrus Mix (equal parts lemon and lime)
¾ oz. of Aperol Spiked Agave Syrup (3:1 Agave Nectar to Aperol). You could also do 1/2 normal Agave Syrup and 1/4 Aperol
Directions: Place all ingredients into a shaker, add ice, and give a long hard shake. Take a coupe glass and rim with a salt/pepper/tajin mix. Double strain the cocktail (to remove ice chips) in the coupe and garnish will a rolled Grapefruit peel “flower".
Tasting Notes: The balance of summer in a glass: bright, refreshing and with just a bit of heat. This cocktail hits all of the major palate areas. It is tart, sweet, earthy, and just a bit spicy. It is perfect for sipping away the long nights of summer.
VIVA Rip Tide by Seamore’s (390 Broome St, New York, NY 10013)
1 oz. Fresh Juiced Pineapple
½ oz. Fresh Lime Juice
½ oz. Agave Syrup (3:1 Agave to Water)
Directions: Place all ingredients into a shaker and give a short “dry” shake. Then, add crushed ice to shaker. Pour ice and cocktail into a highball glass and top with a float of Angostura Bitters and Pineapple Frond.
Tasting Notes: TIKI Tequila! The freshness of the juices is what brings out the natural flavors of the tequila here. A slight bit on the sweet side, it won’t leave you with a tooth ache, but rather aching for another. The softer more rounded flavor notes of the Reposado Tequila dance in this cocktail.
VIVA Crisp made by Chris Kramer @celebratedspirits of The Larchmont (5750 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038)
3 fresh slices of Cucumber
2-3 fresh slices of Jalapeno (deseed to control spice factor)
¾ oz. Agave Syrup
Directions: Place all in a tin and lightly muddle. Do not crush ingredients just press to express oils and flavors. Add ice and give a short and soft shake. Pour all into a Double Old-Fashioned Glass. Garnish with some something fresh and fragrant. We use a lime peel and cucumber wheel. But a large basil sprig is also recommended.
Tasting Notes: This is a very fresh and big cocktail. The cucumber and Jalapeño serve as the stage for the bright notes of the tequila to shine through. The agave gives the cocktail balance. It’s a garden in a glass!
VIVA Tourist made by Chris Kramer @celebratedspirits of The Larchmont (5750 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038)
¼ oz. Mezcal
¾ oz. Fresh Lime Juice
½ oz. Fresh Pineapple
¾ oz. Fresh Orgeat (Almond Syrup)
2-3 fresh Jalapeño Slices
Directions: Place all in a tin and add ice. Give a long hard shake then double strain the cocktail into a single Old-Fashioned Glass. Garnish with a Jalapeño slice.
Tasting Notes: Like any good trip, this cocktail is an experience. It has big mouth presence and will linger in your mouth and memory like any good vacation. The lime, pineapple, and almond give a nice tropical vibe while the Joven and the Jalapeno jump in, keeping the drink from getting to sweet. The mezcal comes in right at the end for a lasting, smokey finish.
VIVA Las Peaches made by Blaine Adams of Barrel & Ashes (11801 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604)
¼ Fresh Ripe Yellow Peach
1 Rosemary Sprig
¾ oz. Fresh lemon juice
½ oz. Cinnamon Simple Syrup
2 oz. Soda Water
Directions: Place all ingredients in a tin and muddle until the peaches have expressed a decent amount of juice. Next, add ice and give a medium strength, medium length shakes and add 2 oz. Soda Water. Double strain onto fresh ice into a Highball Glass and garnish with a fresh rosemary sprig.
Tasting notes: Peaches and tequila are quite a pair. The bright citrus notes in the Joven latch onto the fresh peach and take off running. The cinnamon and rosemary are there to help balance out the flavor profile adding some spice and bitter earthy qualities. It’s refreshing, different, and will leave you asking for another. It’s not as crazy as a Vegas shotgun wedding but it is as good of a time!
VIVA Cooler by Cocina Condesa (11616 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604)
2 Fresh Cucumber Slices
Pinch of Mint Leaves
Small pinch of cilantro leaves
1 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
½ oz. Agave Syrup
Directions: Place all ingredients into a tin and lightly muddle. Next, add ice and give a short and soft shake. Take a Double Old-Fashioned Glass and rim with salt. Then, pour contents into the glass and top with a float of tonic water.
Tasting Notes: This drink is cool under pressure. The fresh herbs and citrus are bright and refreshing giving this drink an almost cooling sensation. The Joven stands as the backbone giving the drink just the right amount of heat. It’s familiar and different all at the same time. No peer pressure here but seriously be cool.