Last week, Tanteo Tequila held an event at Milk Studios in Chelsea to announce the winners of its Mexican-inspired art competition as well as educate drinkers about the brand. Tanteo, founded by former financier Jonathan Rojewski in 2006, offers three varities of infused tequila: jalapeno, tropical, and chocolate.
Before I made my way to the bar, I was taken aback by the stunning views that the eighth floor of Milk Studios offers. The sun was close to setting over a picturesque Hudson River, people were milling about on the Highline below, and I could even see into the hot pink salon of Diane Von Furstenberg's penthouse. I decided to start with a tasting led by Rojewski. He said after spending several years traveling and surfing in Mexico, he wanted to indulge his culinary passion with an artisan tequila. It took him a year and a half to perfect the flavors, infusing 100 percent agave blanco tequila with raw, natural ingredients.
On its own, I found the tropical version (mango, pineapple, and guanabana) best suited for sipping straight. I could imagine drinking it with ice and a splash of soda water. The fruit flavors were authentic, and there was just a slight hint of jalapeno. Rojewski said the recipe was based on the fruit sold at traditional Mexican carts, which is often sprinkled with chili powder or sliced jalapenoes. The other two flavors, jalapeno and chocolate, worked better in mixed drinks, in my opinion. The jalapeno worked especially well in a margarita that was served, providing just the right bite to balance the lime and agave flavors. The chocolate flavor is not as sweet as you would think—it's inspired by mole sauce and has more of a raw cocoa taste, making it appropriate in a dessert cocktail.
Speakeasy Cocktail Consultants worked the bar while La Esquina provided nibbles. Artwork by Michael Pribich, Martha Clippinger, and Doraelia Ruiz stirred conversation, and each artist was awarded $500. Guests were rewarded too, with stylish Tanteo tote bags filled with t-shirts, flash drives, and Tanteo minis in each flavor. I think a lot of people left this event with a great impression of this emerging brand, and hopefully, of Mexican culture as well.