Ah, tequila. Perhaps you remember knocking the stuff back at some dodgy club in Fourways/ Claremont/Florida Road/ Grahamstown (choose applicable den of iniquity). Most likely, you don’t.

But times are a-changing, and the Mexican spirit is moving with them — and up in levels of sophistication, at that. In fact, if you had to call a major trend in the world of booze, it would be that tequila is the new drink of choice.

"What?" we hear you gasp. "That stuff that tastes like hospital disinfectant?" Yip. But don’t take our word for it. Ask George Clooney. Last year, he sold his high-end tequila brand Casamigos to alcohol house Diageo for US$1bn. And to kick off 2018, Bacardi bought premium tequila brand Patrón in a deal that put its value at $5.1bn.

So you get the gist.

But the trick here is twofold. First, to really be on-trend (and dare we say extremely pretentious), you’ve got to seek out the artisanal, niche stuff — the kind you can casually drop into a conversation and sound as if you’ve been distilling agave nectar (that’s what the fiery liquor is made from) for yourself in Guadalajara, Mexico, for years now. Second, you do not do tequila shooters. You sip it, as you would any other quality drink.

This is where Fortaleza comes in, because it’s now available in SA. It is a small-batch, hand-crafted, 100% agave tequila that comes from the aptly named town of Tequila, in the Mexican state of Jalisco.

The small family-owned distillery, located on the slopes of an extinct volcano among maturing blue agave plants, is where fifth-generation tequila maker Guillermo Erickson Sauza makes tequila — using the same production methods employed by his forefathers.

From a cachet perspective, it’s exactly what you need. And, because we have tried it, we can say it tastes extremely (surprisingly) good; it’s smooth and dangerously easy to drink.

There are three varieties available. They will all look good in your liquor cabinet and are for sale at Norman Goodfellows, Makro and other bottle stores nationwide.

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