This article is part of a series, highlighting the importance of additive-free and authentic tequila, partnered by PATRÓN. Discover more at The World of PATRÓN.
Sometimes, “complicated” can be great. Like the dinner recipe that requires a long list of complex ingredients but turns out to be completely and totally worth it. Most of the time, however, simple and uncomplicated is exactly what you need.
While flashy, overcomplicated creations grab a lot of attention, it takes immense skill to create something exceptional out of simple ingredients. In the world of tequila, that corollary is probably best exemplified by PATRÓN. While many brands overcomplicate their recipes with glycerin, sugar, and other additives, PATRÓN still makes its spirits with just three simple ingredients: agave, water, and yeast. Each of those three contributes greatly to the quality and flavor of the distillery’s tequila, which means there’s never been any need for additives, colorings, or other extraneous ingredients to mask imperfections.
PATRÓN’s commitment to preserving traditional means of tequila-making, a precise production process, and use of the highest-quality natural ingredients — agave, water, and yeast — that are masterfully combined, yields a simply perfect tequila.
Weber Blue Agave
By law, the main ingredient in tequila must be the Weber cultivar of Agave tequilana, the blue agave (or agave azul), otherwise known as Weber Blue agave. All the Weber Blue agave used by PATRÓN is sourced from the Highlands — or Los Altos — of the Mexican state of Jalisco, where the plants grow slowly, often at elevations of 7,000 feet or more. Among connoisseurs, the agaves grown in the Jalisco Highlands are known for producing spirits that are sweeter in flavor, with pronounced mineral and floral notes, leading to a higher-quality tequila.
A relative of the Joshua tree, yucca, asparagus, and other plants, only mature Weber Blue agave is the source of all sugars that are used in the fermentation process at PATRÓN. Other makers can (and do) add other kinds of sugars that are not sourced from Weber Blue agave, all the way up to 49 percent of the total sugars used in the process. Even though that is allowed by Mexican law, that’s not how PATRÓN — one of the pioneers of the 100 percent Weber Blue agave category — thinks it should be done.
At PATRÓN there is no added sugar because of its unrelenting commitment to harvesting the highest-quality, properly matured agave plants. The Weber Blue agave used at PATRÓN is slowly grown, roasted, and matured for maximum flavor. With no shortcuts and no acceleration, it takes seven years to grow agave. Once fully matured, the pencas (the agave’s long spiky leaves) are shaved more closely to the piña (the part of the agave plant used to make tequila) than is common in the industry, which results in a finer taste profile. The massive agave piñas are then slowly roasted in small brick ovens and crushed under roller mills and traditional tahona stone crushers to release all the sugars that are needed to produce a delicious and complex spirit. This process is completed much slower than industry standard, laddering back to PATRÓN’s painstaking commitment not to cut corners and deliver only the highest-quality tequila for consumers to enjoy.
Water Is Life
Water is the source of all life, covering about 70 percent of Earth’s surface. Simple and elemental as it might be, water is also completely crucial in tequila production — to make a great tequila, you obviously need to use good water.
Agave itself needs water to grow, with the available water source influencing the growth and characteristics of the agave plant. The location of PATRÓN’s distillery in the Jalisco Highlands was specifically chosen because of its source of excellent water. Drawn from an aquifer deep below the distillery, the water used at PATRÓN has a soft, consistent mineral profile that is said to be ideal for tequila production.
As the roasted agave piñas are crushed in the milling process, they are also sprayed with water to help release their sweet juices. When that juice is ready to be fermented, it is adjusted to the optimal strength for fermentation with the addition of more agave sugars or water.
Both water and agave are clearly present in any bottle of tequila, obvious to your sense of sight, taste, and smell. What’s less obvious is the role that is played by the drink’s third ingredient: yeast.
PATRÓN’S Own Yeast
As any brewer or winemaker will tell you, different yeasts often create wildly different flavors and aromas. Around the world, many legendary drinks can only be made with very specific yeast strains.
At PATRÓN, the distillery employs its own proprietary yeast strain, not used by any other tequila maker, which it propagates in house through a three-stage process. It might be a simple, single-celled microorganism that has coexisted with human beings for thousands of years. But at PATRÓN, that simple house yeast is believed to be responsible for as much as 70 percent of the spirit’s flavor profile.
Before distillation happens, the sugars from the agave piñas must be turned into alcohol by a yeast. Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is a kind of single-celled fungus that has been used in the production of wine, beer, bread, and other foods and drinks for millennia.
As one of just three ingredients, yeast is a key element, though it is only present at the beginning of the process: All yeast is killed off and removed from the spirit during distillation. Because yeast is not present in the final product, it can be easy to overlook its role. But what you taste in the glass is directly influenced by the work the yeast has done, with each yeast strain known to have its own specific character.
Simple Is Better
With just three ingredients, PATRÓN is one of the rare tequilas that don’t use any artificial flavorings or ingredients. It makes tequila using the same uncompromising steps in its production process, showing that when using only the highest-quality agave, water, and yeast, it leads to a simply perfect tequila for you to enjoy.
This article is sponsored by PATRÓN.