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How to get into the holiday 'spirits' with tequila expert Sonia Espínola

Whether you're looking for a gift to bring to your next holiday party or planning your New Year's celebration, Espínola breaks down what to look for.

AUSTIN, Texas — With the holiday season in full swing, you may be wondering what party gift to bring the host or what spirit to choose for New Year's celebrations. 

Sonia Espínola is the director of the Beckmann Foundation with Jose Cuervo, a founding member of the Mexican Academy of Tequila and one of very few female masters of tequila. 

She thinks you should go with tequila this holiday season. More specifically, she said you should go with tequila made with 100% agave, which includes Jose Cuervo's most premium collection of small-batch tequilas and Mexico’s crown jewel: Reserva de la Familia.  

Previously only available for the Cuervo family’s closest inner circle, Reserva de la Familia is tequila’s best kept secret. Highly regarded by tequila aficionados from around the world, this tequila is carefully hand-crafted following an artisanal process handed down by generations.  

Credit: Dominique Newland
Jose Cuervo's Reserva de la Familia®

"For Hispanic people, this is why we believe that our plan is the agave needs between eight to 10 years to reach maturity. It takes a long time to have a bottle of tequila, a glass of tequila. Right now, of course, you can take a shot, you can take a margarita. But it's more than that, really. This is part of our culture, is gastronomy, is music, is culture, is everything is around. It's an experience, you know, and this is what we want to share with the world," Espínola said.

Every year, the Jose Cuervo family commissions a Mexico-based artist to design original artwork for the collectors box each year. For the 2023 box, artists Rolando Flores and Gabriel Cázares of the Mexico-based Tercerunquinto Collective designed the bottles. The piece of custom art is titled “Structuring a Landscape” and features a geometric abstraction of the landscape of Tequila, Mexico. 

"This year's box is a special selection of agaves and raw materials that produce tequila and also is coming from the volcanic area of tequila. Tequila is also a town in Mexico and has the oldest distillery in Latin America. This tequila is from the private seller of the family. This is more than 11th generation. So, imagine all the legacy, all the history is in those walls that you can see," Espínola said.

When it comes to the holidays, Espínola said, in the Reserva de la Familia collection, the reposado, extra añejo or platino can all be paired in different ways. 

"We can have tradicional for energetic parties, for our cocktails. But if you want to do a pairing at dinner, I recommend Reserva de la Familia with a very nice dinner, a very neat sip. If you want more cocktails, more margaritas, mixology, you can use tradicional," Espínola said.

Espínola said the 2023 artist-designed collector’s box is very limited. 

Credit: Dominique Newland
The 2023 artist-designed collector’s box available in January.

"The vision is presented by different boxes with different artists, and this is from 2022. Next year, you're going to be able to have the 2023. The box represents the landscape in different parts of the day. But the most special thing is the liquid. The tequila is five to seven years of aging and coming from the private cellar of the family," Espínola said. "This is a special gift. If you want to give something special, for somebody you love a lot, I say Reserva de la Familia is a perfect gift for these holidays."

The 2023 collector's box will be available in January in Texas. Select stores can be found here.

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