A drink with… Ana Maria Romero, MijentaBy Nicola Carruthers
The maestra tequilera of Mijenta Tequila tells us about changing the category’s image and the importance of sustainability.
What inspired you to make Mijenta?
I was thinking about the lands, the people, the jimadors and the agave. But I also thought about the people that were tasting it and enjoying it. We really wanted it to have the local characteristics of the region. Things like the red clay soil, the agave, all these aspects really influenced the characteristics of the terroir. The characteristics are fruity flavours and aromas. I worked with jimadors to select the agave that was of a specific height and maturity to create the flavour profile of Mijenta. It’s a Tequila for the tastes and the senses – a culinary Tequila.
What makes Mijenta different from other Tequilas?
It’s very elegant, very complex. It’s also very fruity, with notes of watermelon, lemon and apricot. The processes of making our spirit are very sophisticated and precise.
How did you get started in the industry? How long did you work on Mijenta Tequila?
I’ve worked in the Tequila industry for 30 years and on the brand for two years. My background was in wine before I started in Tequila. When I started working with Tequila I wasn’t familiar with the sensorial aspect. I realised the processes were much more elegant than I expected. I studied 750 Tequila brands and looked at the different senses of Tequila. I discovered 600 different flavours and aromas.
How do you recommend drinking Mijenta?
We have two ways, the first one is sipping it in a Champagne glass, and the second way is in cocktails. I like it neat in the glass and sip it slowly. A third way is pairing it with meals; our vision is that our Tequila is culinary. We pair it with fish, ceviches, or desserts with lemon and cinnamon, or crème brulée.
What excites you about Tequila?
It’s the expansion of the markets, especially the image. The fact that we can educate people about Tequila, tell them that it’s more sophisticated and more elegant and complex than they expect it to be. What we’re doing is very high‐end. It’s bringing this new version of Tequila, this sophisticated, elegant version of Tequila to new markets.
What challenges does the Tequila category face?
The challenge is breaking the stigma; people think of Tequila as only for drinking as a shot. It’s about changing the image beyond only drinking it like that, or in cocktails. Tequila is more than this.
Will you be releasing any further expressions?
We will launch a reposado by the end of 2020 and an añejo by mid‐2021. We’re also going to create a cristalino Tequila.
Where do you hope to see the brand in a year from now?
E‐commerce is very important for our brand. I want to get it in the best restaurants in the world. I want mixologists to create great cocktails with our Tequila. We hope to gain new fans for the Tequila. I hope it can grow very, very fast in various countries, and in the most important places. I want people to think of Mijenta as the first option when it comes to Tequila.
How important is sustainability to the brand?
We are very eco‐friendly when it comes to the consumption of agave. I believe very strongly in biodiversity and in sustainable agriculture and the sustainable development of the soil. Consumers only see the last part of the supply chain, they see the drink when it’s ready, but there is so much happening before. It’s the caring for this land and harvesting it at the right moment. It’s about caring for all the steps.