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s p r i n g 2 0 1 7 | 4 9 Fields of rust-colored soil stretch as far as the eye can see in the Highlands of Arandas, Jalisco, the home of Tequila Cazadores. This brand's story began in 1922, when Don Jose Maria Bañuelos set out to produce a superior-quality tequila for his family and friends. At the time, the majority of tequilas were poor quality, unaged blancos. Bañuelos wanted to create a more refined spirit mellowed by aging in wood casks. Many years later, Felix Bañuelos founded Tequila Cazadores in honor of his grandfather's original reposado recipe. As Master Tequilier Tania Oseguera explains, "He chose the name Cazadores, Spanish for 'hunters', in honor of his grandfather's quest to produce the best tequila in the world." Bañuelos's grandfather used to admire the deer who would roam through his agave fields, hence the stag represents both his grandfather and the Highlands of Arandas. Jimadores use a coa to harvest blue Weber agave. This long- handled tool has been used for over 400 years in a process that is an ingrained part of Mexican culture. TEQUILA CAZADORES ® EXPLORES THE CROSSROADS BETWEEN COCKTAILS AND GASTRONOMY. Tequila Cazadores Brand Ambassador Manny Hinojosa is passionate about "bringing the kitchen to the bar" and creates fresh, seasonal cocktails to pair with a variety of cuisines. Since its commercial launch in 1973, Tequila Cazadores has built a reputa- tion for producing premium, 100 percent agave tequilas. Unlike spirits such as vodka or gin, tequila has a Denomination of Origin and can only be pro- duced within five states in Mexico. The national spirit of Mexico is also one of the most painstaking spirits to produce. "Even a blanco tequila takes at least seven years to make if you count the maturity of the agave plant," says Oseguera. In addition, it's hand-harvested by the jimadores using a coa, the same long-handled, machete-like tool that's been used for over 400 years. The spirit embodies what some call lo Mexicano, or what it means to be Mexican, a philosophy that rings true to the long history of Tequila Cazadores. While tequila is often incorporated as the base for beloved cocktails such as the Paloma, a classic combination of tequila and grapefruit soda, it's tradi- tionally served neat at the beginning or end of a meal. But tequila-based cocktail pairings open up a whole new world of flavors. In fact, the beauty of a cocktail is that it can be tailored to flawlessly match any dish. Hello, hard-to-pair ingredients like asparagus and chilies; you too can have a place at the table. Moreover, the various categories of tequila, from blanco to extra añejo, allow for even greater flexibility in pairing flavor profiles and mouthfeels. To further explore this intersection between food and tequila, we were treated to a unique tequila pairing experience prepared by Chef Ernesto "Neto" Hernandez, Executive Chef for the renowned I Latina restaurant in Guadalajara, and well-known mixologist Manny Hinojosa, Brand Ambassador for Tequila Cazadores. Over five courses, the two came together to explore both balance and contrast in flavors, all of which celebrate the spirit of Mexico's culinary and cocktail roots.

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