Cinco de Mayo Goes Upscale

It may not be possible to find a more appropriate tequila for a truly refined Cinco de Mayo celebration than Casa Dragones. The ultra-premium sipping tequila is so supple it will make you rethink what the signature Mexican spirit is supposed to taste like—and, indeed, it’s the company’s mission to revolutionize consumers’ perception of tequila.

And then there’s the name: The Dragones were an elite cavalry that helped catalyze Mexico’s War of Independence. What better way to honor the country’s heritage? Co-founder (and Clear Channel CEO) Bob Pittman named the spirit as a nod to his San Miguel, Mexico, hacienda, which features some vestiges of the Dragones’ encampments.

Yet it’s here in New York City—Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to be exact—that Casa Dragones came to life, when co-founder and CEO Bertha González Nieves first met Pittman, at a mutual friend’s party. They quickly discovered they shared a passion for tequila—González Nieves is the first woman to become an accredited Maestra Tequilera—and launched the company in 2009. “New York is an ideal location for a small brand with global ambitions,” González Nieves says.

“The high-end tequilas have been leading much of the growth of tequila overall,” she notes. “The Casa Dragones consumer has noticed the difference and is looking for handcrafted tequila of higher quality that can show the sophistication and complexity of this spirit.”

At roughly $275 a bottle, Dragones, a blend of silver and extra añejo tequilas, shows its sophistication at every level: the clear, silky body; the fresh citrus smell; the sweet notes of vanilla; the clean finish; and the modern elegance of

the handcrafted crystal bottle. And it’s rare, with a limited production run of only 5,000 liters last year.

What also sets Casa Dragones apart from the competition is the way it complements food; chefs such as Thomas Keller, Eric Ripert, and Daniel Boulud are fans. On the occasion of Cinco de Mayo, González Nieves recommends ceviche as an ideal pairing. She points to the creations of two renowned Mexican chefs as inspiration: Enrique Olvera’s sea bass ceviche and Martha Ortiz Chapa’s coconut and prickly pear version. Find your own inspiration on the Dragones website, which features a comprehensive food pairing section.

“We are committed to pushing the boundaries of what has been done with tequila before,” González Nieves says. “We want to participate in moving the tequila category forward via our love of the craft, meticulous attention to detail, and innovation, to ensure an extraordinary experience, one bottle at a time.”

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