Talking Tequila: Habañero Hots Has a Spirit of Its Own

By Caitlin Hamer

From the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico comes an exciting opportunity for local tequila lovers – but you’ll want to head to Habañero Hots first.

Already boasting an impressive tequila collection (180 different kinds at last count), Habañero Hots has become the place to go for connoisseurs of this agave-based spirit. And now, they’re proud to present their latest acquisition: El Tesoro Single Barrel Habañero Hots Tequila. That’s right – it’s their very own.

“The distiller invited us down to Guadalajara,” reveals John DeNigris, owner of Habañero Hots. “We spent the week down there and educated ourselves, and we spent a lot of time in the agave fields right there by the distillery.”

As a tequila lover and a restaurant owner, John is frequently searching for the very best in food and drink to serve to his patrons. But it wasn’t until this recent trip that he finally found something worthy of stamping his restaurant’s name on. “We co-branded the tequila,” he says, adding that he and his team sampled from thousands of barrels before settling on their favorite.

“I’ve always loved tequila,” confides John. “And it’s so refined now. Almost like a fine whiskey or a cognac, you can sip and enjoy it.” In fact, at Habañero Hots, tequila is often served is in a proper tequila glass to allow you to fully appreciate it. “Some of the aged tequilas that you’re going to get have some notes in it like you would with a cognac – some vanilla, some spice, some earthiness. It’s a complex spirit and that really intrigued me.”

And much like fine spirits, or even craft beers, how it’s made plays a huge factor in how the final product tastes. “El Tesoro is one of the last distilleries that makes tequila the old school way,” John explains. “They still use a giant granite wheel – a tahona – to literally crush the agave to extract the juices. It’s really a boutique kind of process. And they own and controls their own agave fields, which is rare.”

If you’re intrigued, or now rethinking your past tequila experiences which may only include shot glasses or margaritas, then make sure to check out Habañero Hots’ monthly tequila tasting night. Held the first Wednesday of every month and featuring a different tequila each time, you can sample the goods and enjoy a tapas bar.

“Tequila has absolutely evolved,” promises John. “There’s something for everybody.”

Habañero Hots
1024 E. Victor Rd., Lodi
(209) 369-3791

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