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Smoky Spirits for Valentine’s Day

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Planning a romantic evening at home with your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day? IZO Spirits Mixologist Irvine Gonzalez has created the IZO Cupid, a signature cocktail guaranteed to “ignite the love.”

“IZO Cupid is the perfect way to ignite love on a date outside or at home to sip, share and catch the conversation of history while savoring wild Dasylirion herbs harvested from the high altitude mesas in Durango. Mexican. Experience a smooth, warm taste for a night to remember, rooted in old-world tradition and crafted for the modern table, roasted in a fire pit according to ancient methods, distilled and aged to perfection.

IZO Cupid Recipe: 1.5 oz. ISO Sotol; 1 oz. Raspberry-Vanilla Syrup; 5 ounces Roasted Pepita Orgeat; 75 ounces Lemon juice; 1 oz. aquafaba Glassware: Coupe Glass; Garnish: Red Vinegar Powder and Lemon Twist. Add all ingredients to a shaker bowl with ice. Shake for 10 seconds and strain; Strain into a rock glass with a large ice cube. Garnish with pineapple leaves.

Gaston Martinez, co-founder of IZO Spirits, says the Mexican-born and world-class, handcrafted spirits are produced in Durango, Jalisco and Sonora Mexico. They have won numerous international awards. Visit IZOSspirits.com for more information.

Great Elder Centennial

Aged in new American oak barrels to achieve a tequila of unmatched smoothness and quality, Gran Centenario Añejo features aromatic notes of roasted oak, chocolate, caramel and hazelnuts. Tequila is soft and complex, with a slightly sweet flavor and a well-balanced profile. Retail price is $35.99.

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Great Centenary Annex

We tried the Gran Centenario Anejo in a frozen Margarita, but I bet it’s great on the rocks too. This beautifully designed bottle deserves to be seen front and center of your home bar. They also produce a few more expensive spirits. Gran Centenario Cristalino – An expertly crafted blend of Añejo and Extra Añejo tequilas, carefully crafted in Calvados barrels and meticulously treated with Mexican silver. The result is an ultra-smooth and crystal-clear tequila with unmatched quality and taste. The Cristalino flavor profile features sweet notes of baked agave with hints of vanilla bean, baked apple and oak. Retail price is $79.99.

Gran Centenario Leyenda – A rare and special Extra Añejo tequila with a unique flavor and character, Lazaro Gallardo, the founder of Gran Centenario, first created this blend as a special tequila for his most discerning guests and closest family members. Using the original 150-year-old recipe, spanning generations, to celebrate the people, places and moments that brought us together, Leyenda presents aromatic notes of apple, pear, quince and raisins. The complex flavor includes subtle and sweet woody tones with hints of maple, eucalyptus, clove and thyme. Retail price is $149.99.

Gel-Shotz

smoky spirits for valentines
Gel-Shotz

Gel-Shotz is a colorful, festive item that looks perfect for a Valentine’s Day gift or to try at home. Gel-Shotz offers cocktail-flavored Gelatin specifically formulated to be blended with alcohol. Flavors like Margarita, Strawberry Margarita, or Tequila Sunrise are made to be mixed with Tequilas or Mezcals. Other flavors include the Apple Martini, Blue Hawaiian, and Lemon Drop Martini to mix with the vodka. They can also be mixed with water for an alcohol-free treat. To order your favorite flavors or for more information, please visit GelShotz.com.

The Life of Del Maguey San Luis del Rio

Agave lovers will especially enjoy the silky smooth Del Maguey Vida de San Luis del Rio Mezcal. We found it delicious when we topped it with Topo Chico in our Ranch water with lemon juice over ice. We’ve also used it in a Margarita, where its slightly smoky flavor adds extra strength to the frozen mix.

Smoky alcoholic drinks
Del Maguey Spirits

Del Maguey produces a variety of Mezcal flavors, and all offer a full-bodied, roasted taste experience that they claim “keeps drinkers warm, whether they’re drinking straight or mixing them into a festive cocktail.” The Vida de San Luis del Rio we tried retails for $33.99 at Total Wine in Cedar Hill.

818 Tequila

Social media celebrity Kendall Jenner has also become a successful businesswoman, first with her cosmetics line and now with her award-winning 818 Tequila. Available in Tequila, Blanco, Reposado and Anejo flavors. We chose to try the Reposado ($59), which features a ripe roasted agave flavor and notes of caramel and vanilla with honey and fruit accents. Jenner’s 818 Tequila is produced on family-owned farms in Jalisco, Mexico, and has received a number of awards.

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818 Holiday Gifts

Their 818 Tequila Blanco retails for $45 and their Anejo for $64.99. The company recently announced the production of a blended tequila that comes in an 8-shaped white ceramic pitcher that resembles a giant pretzel. It will sell for $200 to very picky or very wealthy Tequila lovers. For more information, visit 818Tequila.com.

After trying these three types of spirits, all from Mexico, we wanted to learn more about the difference between Tequila, Sotol and Mezcal. Both Tequila and Mezcal are derived from the Agave plant, while Sotol is made from the dasyllirion group and is called desert spoon in English. In Mexico, where it has been produced for decades, Sotol is sipped properly, while American bartenders often mix it into cocktails. Sotol flavors are not as smoky as Mezcal. Mezcal can be made from any of the 40 varieties of Agave plants, both cultivated and wild, while tequila is only made from cultivated Blue Weber Agave.