We have to go back to 1998, when entrepreneurs Danny Schneeweiss and Moy Guindi, inspired by Mexico City’s thriving cultural scene, wanted to create a premium tequila based on traditional production that matched Mexico’s new face. Tequila, long laying fallow as an over-marketed party spirit relegated to bikers and oversweet Spring Break blender drinks, was ripe for an overhaul. The pair approached distiller Pedro Juarez, who was himself concerned about his industry’s over-reliance on marketing and not on strong, authentic production, and Milagro was born. Terrific, authentic-but-accessible tequila in fascinating glass-art bottling; it wrote the script for a disruptive newcomer on the scene. And that script has been followed by many, many new tequila makers and products to breathe bold new life into what was once called “cactus juice.”
The distillery’s latest efforts, Milagro Select Barrel Reserve, presents the end result of hand-selected, mature blue agave put through a signature fermentation and distillation process and American and French oak barreling for an anejo, reposado, and even in an exceptional Select Barrel Reserve silver, or “plata” form.
Milagro Select Barrel Reserve Silver ($50) gets a brief 45-day rest in both American and French oak. The stay adds virtually no color nor woody notes to the brew, but it does fold in an uncanny smoothness that plays so very nicely with the natural heady botanical flavors of the source spirit. In fact, when you try it neat (very recommended) or with a rock or two, add a sprig of mint to the glass to enhance its herbal-isciousness.
Only a very pure, simple version of a margarita will truly let this tequila work its wonders in cocktail form, and this recipe from the distillery itself, called “The Freshest Margarita,” eschews the expected triple sec to deliver an unsullied experience.
THE FRESHEST MARGARITA
2 x 1.5 oz. shots of Milagro Select Barrel Reserve silver tequila
1 x 1.5 oz. of agave nectar (or simple syrup in a pinch)
1 x 1.5 oz. of fresh lime juice
1 ripe lime, for juice and wheel for garnish
Rim salt, if desired
• Juice a lime until you have enough to fill a shot glass, slice a wheel from the remainder; set aside
• Add all ingredients to an ice-filled cocktail shaker
• Strain over ice in a rocks glass
• Garnish with a lime wheel and rim salt if desired