Written by Daniel Gonzales
Photography by Robin Zielinski
La Posta de Mesilla is known for it’s authentic New Mexican cuisine, and for the history and traditions of Southern New Mexico held within the adobe walls of the iconic restaurant. Owners Tom and Jerean Hutchinson have also assembled one of the most exclusive tequila and mezcal collections in all of New Mexico—one that could rival some of the best-known tequila bars in the entire country.
When we decided to begin our series of spirit tastings in the Las Cruces area, we knew tequila and La Posta would be first on our list.
Whether you want to expand your fine spirit knowledge or host a tequila tasting of your own, follow this handy guide based on the La Posta tequila tasting.
Michael Trujillo is one of the country’s most respected barmen in the country and has traveled the world many times over visiting distilleries from Europe to South America, and of course Mexico. We were fortunate enough to have him come down from Albuquerque to celebrate these wonderful tequilas and mezcals and share his intimate knowledge with each specific brand and variation.
Tequila is one of the most popular and fastest growing spirits categories. In fact, the most popular cocktail for decades all over the world, the Margarita, uses tequila as its base liquor. There is no question that tequila stands apart from any of its spirit counterparts because of the process, time, and materials it takes to make the amazing elixir.
Plata, Blanco, Silver: unaged, must be bottled within 60 days of distillation
Reposado(rested): aged 2-11 months in oak
Anejo (aged): aged for 1 year or more in oak
Extra Anejo (the newest of styles): must be aged for a minimum of 3 years
How It’s Made
Tequila is such a very unique spirit because it can only be made from one species of plant and only in five specific regions in Mexico (Jalisco, Michoacan, Nayarit, Tamaulipas, and Guanajuato).
Tequila is made from the heart, or pina, of the Weber (blue) agave, which takes eight to ten years to mature for harvest. The agave plant is often confused for a type of cactus, but this plant is actually related to the lily or amaryllis. Most other spirits are made from grains or fruits that have multiple harvests in a single year, while the agave farmer must wait through a minimum of 32 seasons before they are able to reap the benefits of their labor.
The Tasting Menu
Mixto: by law, mixto tequilas must be no less than 51% blue agave
100% de Agave: by law, 100% de agave tequila must be made with 100% blue agave
Patron Anejo Select Barrel
La Posta was the first restaurant in all of Southern New Mexico to select its own barrel of Patron Anejo. This process involves tasting several samples of barrels from the distillery, sometimes up to 12 different barrels, before the perfect one is chosen. La Posta is on their fifth barrel selection. Patron Select Barrel Anejo is a great tequila to have on its own, but also is used in their famed La Patronal Margarita. However, you enjoy this spectacular spirit, know that there is only one place in the world you can experience it like this.
Casa Noble Reposado Select Barrel
La Posta is the only restaurant in the entire state of New Mexico with a select barrel of Casa Noble Reposado. This remarkable tequila drinks like most Anejos in this collection. There are such strong caramel and vanilla notes from the aging process that this tequila could easily replace your dessert for the evening.
Clase Azul Anejo
This distillery is responsible for not only some of the best tequila in the world but
also some of the most beautiful packaging you will ever see. The agave used in this tequila is 100% organic and hand-selected. It is matured no less than nine years and cooked for a minimum of 72 hours before being aged for 25 months in the perfect barrels. Each decanter is handcrafted and takes at least two weeks to complete.
El Tesoro Paradiso
As a young bartender, this was the first extra anejo I ever tasted, and for years has been my personal favorite tequila in the world. Aged in cognac barrels, this unique spirit has a flavor all its own. El Tesoro is the only spirit that I know of that distills to 80 proof, meaning that there is nothing in this bottle but tequila. (Most spirits distill to over 80 proof, then add water to come down to proof.) El Tesoro as a brand has one of the purest and cleanest tasting tequilas in the world.
Aged 43 months in regular-sized oak barrels, then moved into much smaller barrels for the final 30 days of aging, this smooth distillate takes on a whole new development of character and flavor that makes you question if you are even having a tequila. The final 30 days of aging give the liquid a smaller surface area to the wood which is where it develops its extra kick of toffee and vanilla notes.
Gran Patron Piedra
Piedra, meaning rock or stone, pays homage to the old process of using a stone wheel to crush the fibers of the agave to extract the fermentable sugars. The Tahona process takes more time and yields less juice, but once you taste the beautiful beverage, you will be thankful for the extra time and care that goes into producing it.
Gran Patron Platinum
One of the most pure and clean tequilas you will ever taste, Patron Platinum is made from hand selected agave hearts and rested for thirty days in oak before being bottled in a crystal bottle to accentuate its purity. Unlike the other kids in this class, Patron Platinum does not have a rich sweetness to the taste, but instead you get to taste the smooth citrus, agave, and fruit notes through and through.
Mezcal is tequila’s sister spirit, and it can be made from any of the other 136 species of agave grown in Mexico. Most often the agaves are smoked, instead of baking or steaming them, to release the fermentable sugars. Ilegal Mezcal uses the Espadin agave, and honors it with one of the most tasty and approachable mezcals I have ever tasted. The smoke is present, but not too overpowering to take away from the smooth flavor of the agave. While the joven (silver) is a wonderful spirit to imbibe on its own, we made an Mezcal Manhattan with the anejo, and it has become one of my go-to cocktails.
Please join us over the next few months as we will be having spirits tastings at some of your favorite restaurants in and around the Las Cruces area:
Gin & Vodka
Hacienda de Mesilla
Liqueurs & Cocktails 101
To reserve your spot, contact the restaurant and make reservations, or for more information email Daniel Gonzales at firstname.lastname@example.org.