The rich legacy of Sierra Tequila

Jul 9, 2023
Bartenders Corner I Sierra

Crafted with passion and sustainability

Attention, bartenders and tequila enthusiasts! Prepare to embark on a journey into the world of Sierra Tequila de Mexico, where passion, tradition, and sustainability converge to create exceptional spirits. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the history and production methods behind Sierra Tequila, including the remarkable Sierra Antiguo Plata and Sierra Antiguo Añejo 100% de Agave Tequilas. Along the way, we’ll hear from Mario Kappes, Sierra Global Advocacy and Education Manager, and head of Sierra Tequila and master distiller Rodolfo Gonzalez.

Bringing the Sierra story to the world

Sierra Tequila stands as a testament to the rich heritage of Mexican tequila-making, crafted in the by the 4th generation family owned Destilerías Sierra Unidas in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. Mario Kappes, the Global Advocacy and Education Manager at Sierra Tequila, plays a vital role in promoting the brand’s legacy and educating enthusiasts worldwide.

“What I love about my role is being able to meet people all over the world and talk about Tequila.”

And when it comes to Sierra Tequila, Mario has no shortage of things to talk about.

Tequila that goes above and beyond

By law, Tequila must be produced with a minimum of 51 % agave juice, with the remaining ingredients for fermentation being sugar. As Mario tells us, Sierra Tequila voluntarily pushes the Tequila standards up, going above the required minimum of 51 % agave in both Sierra Tequila Blanco and Reposado. They also use high-quality sugars from 100% Mexican sugar cane. It’s the blend of ripe agave and Mexican sugar cane that give Sierra Tequila Blanco and Sierra Tequila Reposado the bold and well-balanced flavour profiles that make them the ideal choice when patrons order Tequila shots. And when it comes to more complex drinks, Sierra tequila has outstanding options. Sierra Antiguo uses the same agaves as Sierra Tequila but contains 100% de agave. Antiguo means old, ancient, or antique in Spanish – and as you’d expect, this is premium Tequila, made the old-fashioned way.

“100% agave provides that full agave taste, and we have a little bit more alcohol at 40% ABV,” says Mario, “This is the perfect Tequila if you want the agave notes to stand out in Tequila cocktails like Margaritas.”

Sierra Antiguo and Mario Kappes

The Journey from Agave to Spirit

Sierra Tequila’s journey begins with the cultivation of the finest blue Weber agave. Sierra Tequila selects only the best ‘hijuelos’, or baby agaves, which are already 3 to 4 years old before being planted by hand in their fields. Agaves ripen very slowly – unlike many other tequila producers, Sierra Tequila let their agaves mature until they are fully ripe – usually around 7 years.

“My Heart Is An Agave Plant”, says the head of Sierra Tequila and Master Distiller Rodolfo Gonzales. After harvesting, the agave hearts, known as piñas are bought to the distillery in one piece as quickly as possible. This is alot more labour intensive but helps the piñas stay fresher and more aromatic for longer, contributing to a superior final product. At the distillery, each piña, which can weigh up to 80 kilograms, is hand-chopped into equal pieces and slowly cooked for around 24 hours to release its unique flavours.

“The last time I visited the distillery in Mexico I got to taste tasted a piece of freshly cooked Agave,” says Mario.  “It was incredible, I will never forget the taste. If you want to know what a freshly cooked agave heart tastes like, take a good sip of Sierra Antiguo Plata.” After cooking, the pinas are crushed to release their juices. These juices are then fermented using a unique strain of yeast that has been carefully nurtured by the Gonzalez family for four generations.

Distillation and Aging – Unveiling the Sierra Antiguo Range:

Once fermentation is complete, the liquid is double distilled in traditional pot stills to achieve exceptional purity and the distinctive fruitiness that is so much a part of Sierra tequila products. The result is a premium tequila that is genuine, natural and highly authentic.

Sierra Antiguo Plata showcases the true essence of Sierra Tequila with its unaged and crystal-clear appearance. This vibrant spirit is perfect for cocktails, allowing the flavours of the agave to shine through. According to Mario, “The crisp and fruity notes of Sierra Antiguo Plata make it an ideal choice for refreshing summer cocktails like the Tommy’s Margarita.” Sierra Antiguo Plata is velvety smooth for a young product, impressing with a fresh smell, which carries a fruity sweetness. On the palate, citrus and a clear agave note can be discovered, rounded off by a soft taste in the finish.

For those seeking a more complex and nuanced experience, Sierra Antiguo Añejo awaits. “This is Anejo or ‘aged’ tequila,” says Mario “so it has to be aged for 12 months. But we go the extra mile and age it for 18 months in ex-bourbon barrels from the Heaven Hill distillery in Kentucky.” The charred oak and these barrels impart rich flavour notes of vanilla, caramel, and spice. “Take agave that’s been left to grow to full ripeness combined with 18 months in the barrel and you get something really special for a much lower price that you’d pay for aged whisky,” says Mario.  Each sip of Sierra Antiguo Añejo reveals the culmination of time, craftsmanship, and dedication to excellence. Sierra Antiguo Añejo has a warm, deep golden colour and is characterised by its aromatic, full-bodied, at the same time, particularly mild and fine taste. The flavour bouquet reveals an interplay of vanilla, oranges, cloves, and pepper, leading up to a fruity finish.

Refusing to exploit the land or people

“Sustainability is something every brand has to think about,” says Mario. “I think that everybody recognises that there’s no excuse for not doing anything.” Sierra Tequila de Mexico is one of a very small group of tequila producers who have been growing agave for over 40 years without using chemical fertilisers or industrial irrigation. After an agave field is harvested, they replant the field with beans, corn, and other cover crops for 2-3 years to replenish the soil as a form of green manure. “We use natural fertilisers – grapefruit stones work really well.”

Sierra Tequila’s obsession with sustainability extends to people and packaging, too. “Instead of workers who just get paid for a couple of hours, Sierra Tequila also employs about 450 local people full-time to grow and harvest our agave.” “That iconic sombrero lid on any bottle of Sierra Tequila is made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic,” says Mario. “Many companies who claim recycled plastic just use left-over bits of the plastic used to make the same thing – so it’s not really recycling.”  Sierra Tequila is bottled in Mexico and Europe. This way you can buy Sierra Tequila in more than 90 countries worldwide with a much lower carbon footprint. Sierra Antiguo, by law, is bottled in Mexico.

Margaritas Classic and New

When asked about his favourite tequila cocktail, Mario reveals, “The Tommy’s Margarita is my personal go-to choice. Its simplicity allows the tequila to shine, with the combination of Sierra Antiguo Plata, lime juice, and agave syrup creating a harmonious balance.” Here are a couple more options – from classic to innovative – that will have your patrons coming back for more:

Margarita Clásica

40 ml Sierra Antiguo Plata
20 ml Cointreau
20 ml Fresh lime juice

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Shake all ingredients until chilled. Strain into a classic Margarita glass with a salt rim. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Blackberry-Vanilla Margarita

40 ml Sierra Antiguo Añejo
20 ml Cointreau
20 ml Fresh lemon juice
50 ml Blackberry puree
1 halved vanilla bean

Infuse a halved vanilla bean for one hour in Sierra Antiguo Añejo. Put all ingredients into a blender filled with crushed ice. Blend until it has a solid texture. Pour into a classic margarita glass and garnish with fresh blackberry and lemon zests.

All your Tequila bases covered

From shots to cocktails, offer your patrons an authentic, sustainable tequila brand that embodies authenticity and tradition in every drop. With Sierra Tequila Blanco and Reposado, and the new Sierra Antiguo Plata and Antiguo Anejo 100% de Agave, you have all your tequila bases covered. Contact your local Spirits Platform State Manager.  If you’d like to know more about our portfolio, or need education for you or your staff, please contact the relevant Spirits Academy Brand Ambassador in your state. You can also keep in touch with the latest trends and new releases and take advantage of exclusive offers by subscribing at

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