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Distilled – Patrón Tequila releases a new ultra-premium expression

Our latest round-up of trends from the top shelf, including the release of Patrón El Cielo tequila, the recipe for a Bicicletta cocktail and an overview of cachaça.

Heavenly tequila

This month sees the release of a new ultra-premium expression from Patrón Tequila. Made from 100% Blue Weber agave, Patrón El Cielo (Alc 40%) is the first silver tequila to be distilled four times. ‘A fourth distillation is a process that is extremely rare within the industry,’ explained Patrón’s Master Distiller David Rodriguez. ‘By using this unique, four-time distillation process, we unlocked and opened up the natural sweetness and smoothness from the agave to deliver an incredibly sweet and light-tasting, smooth tequila.’ Crafted in small batches, using the hacienda’s smallest copper pot still, El Cielo – the name means ‘heaven’ in Spanish – has rich, complex aromas: smoky roasted agave, bright citrus, vanilla, charred wood and sweetness. Impressively smooth, light and clean; creamy elegance balanced by a black pepper kick, with sassy green chilli notes, a base note of sweet agave, plus hints of cream soda and ripe stone fruit. Spice notes linger on the long, fresh, grassy finish. Enjoy over ice with a slice of orange. £215/70cl Selfridges

What is… cachaça?

Distilled from fermented sugarcane juice – like some types of rum – cachaça can only be made in Brazil. Drinks historians debate whether cachaça is, in fact, the first rum. But while Portuguese colonists brought sugar production to Brazil in the 16th century, there’s no hard evidence for cachaça distillation until 1611. At the time it was viewed as a rough, cheap spirit for enslaved and peasant workers. Today, commercial cachaça production is divided into industrial and artisanal. The best artisanal versions are often aged in wood, taking on complex flavours; while unaged cachaças are grassy, like rhum agricole or blanco tequila. The spirit’s signature cocktail is the Caipirinha, a mix of cachaça, sugar and lime.

What to drink now… Bicicletta

The name of this Italian aperitif cocktail – also known by the French ‘Bicyclette’ – is supposedly inspired by old men wobbling back home on their bicycles after an evening imbibing. This simple mix is a variation on the spritzes popularised in northern Italy at the end of the 19th century by Austrian Empire soldiers, who diluted local Veneto wines with soda water. The drink became a ‘spritz al bitter’ by adding a measure of bitter-tasting Italian amaro. Vibrant cherry-red Campari is a classic amaro from Milan (Alc 25%, available through Amazon UK). Some recipes go for equal parts Campari and wine. Or vary the ingredients to make a lower-alcohol spritz using 40ml Campari, 40ml wine and 40ml soda water, served in a highball glass.


Ingredients: 50ml Campari, 100ml Italian white wine

Glass: Rocks

Garnish: Orange slice

Method: Fill your glass with ice. Pour the Campari into the glass, followed by the wine. Stir gently to mix and garnish.

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