One need only look at the Best Director Oscar nominations to realize how badly underrepresented women still are in certain high profile industries. Perhaps not surprisingly, Tequila is another one of them.
The tequila business has actually been run by an elite class for generations. But Jalisco’s Tanteo is literally changing the face of Mexican made tequila. Currently, 80% of the workers in the distillery are female, with a particular emphasis on hiring single mothers and widows, as well as providing space for and access to child care. In fact, the distillery considers itself a cooperative, and individual votes are cast to confirm or change who is in charge on a regular basis.
Current Tanteo distillery head Cristina Cortez explains, “Apart from creating a truly excellent tequila, Tanteo also embodies the spirit and the hope intrinsically captured by Juanacatlan’s women’s hands. We are women who are committed to hard work and turning everyday experiences into unforgettable moments.”
In the early 2000’s Juanacatlán, Jalisco, a small town about forty-five minutes outside of Guadalajara, was in trouble. Local jobs were scarce, and the town’s residents couldn’t find work. Along came Tanteo, which rolled out its first bottles in 2009. Focusing on the US market, three versions of spicy tequilas were born: jalapeno, habanero and chipotle. Using all locally sourced chilis, the distillery was able to establish connections with local farms, which only reaffirmed the close relationship the people have with the soil and their own communities.
They soon planted agave, which can take up to seven years to fully mature, just down the road from the distillery. The La Cienega region, well known for rich soil, enabled Tanteo to add agave into the cooperative portion of their practices. This allowed them to maintain quality harvesting practices, only cooking the agave in small batches, using traditional methods like brick ovens and double-distillation.
Says Neil Grosscup, CEO and Master Blender, “We support ethical growing and harvesting of agave, sound bottling processes, intelligent operation-line design and a healthy work environment.”
Recently launched, although in reverse order, is a Blanco Tequila with a slightly higher alcohol content, made to mix well, but also delicious straight up. Bright and light with hints of black pepper and a definite earthiness, the terroir is clear and rich.
And every sip comes complete with an ethical production foundation which one can feel good about.
“I am always seeking to do the right thing,” Grossup explains. “I’ve always been interested in growing families and communities.”
Tanteo Tequila Margarita Recipes
1.5 oz Tanteo Blanco
.5 oz Grapefruit Liquer
1 oz Simple Syrup
.5 Grapfruit Juice
1 oz Club Soda
Combine over ice and shake well. Strain into an ice-filled double highball glass. Garnish with grapefruit peel.
Golden Ginger Margarita
1.5 oz Tanteo Blanco Tequila
.5 oz Monin Turmeric syrup
.5 oz Ginger Syrup
1 oz Fresh lemon juice
Combine over ice and shake well. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with lemon peel.