Employment | Advertise | Grants | Press | Newsletter


Joaquin Camacho  in London, England
Latinos in London  on 2010-11-02

British Mexican Tequila, A Dream Come True

High above the glittering Christmas lights of London’s Oxford Street, Olmeca Tequila this week unveiled Olmeca Altos, its new premium 100% blue agave tequila. The spirit is the result of a unique collaboration between Mexican distilling knowledge and British bartending expertise.

Olmeca Altos has been created through a collaboration between Jesus Hernandez, master distiller at Olmeca Tequilas and Henry Besant and Dre Masso of the Worldwide Cocktail Club, a specialist on-trade drinks consultancy. Henry and Dre have travelled to Mexico many times over the past three years to consult on the creation of the product, using their knowledge of the premium tequila market established through the pair’s ownership of London tequila bar and restaurant Green & Red.

“For years we have been looking for a premium tequila that over-delivers on taste, without being priced out of the reach of every-day consumers, that also offers good value opportunities for the on-trade,” said Henry Besant, managing director at the Worldwide Cocktail Club. Thanks to Olmeca we have had a unique opportunity to go and do what no British barman has ever done before, to travel to Jalisco and work with Jesus and his team to create a brand new tequila.” View exclusive Olmeca Altos videos here.

Henry Besant has been at the forefront of London's vibrant and fast-paced bar scene for over ten years.

He is the only venue manager to have ever won TimeOut magazine's Bar of the Year Award for two consecutive years. As well as TimeOut, Besant's management has resulted in numerous other prizes including "Best New Bar"

in Class Magazine (2003) and Flava Magazine (2004). In 2005, he added Best Bar Manager UK, in both Class and Flava magazines, to his long list of accomplishments.

He, along with Masso, has recently published his first book, Margarita Rocks, featuring 70 bespoke recipes as well as factual information on the history of Tequila and its production methods.

So, what is tequila?  

Principally, it is known as a Mexican spirit drink made from the agave plant indigenous to the area. It is a distilled beverage named after the area surrounding the city of Tequila, 65 kilometres northwest of Guadalajara, and in the highlands (Los Altos) of the western Mexican state of Jalisco.

The red volcanic soil in the surrounding region is particularly well suited to the growing of blue agave, and more than 300 million of the plants are harvested there each year. Agave tequila grows differently depending on the region. Blue agaves grown in the highlands region are larger in size and sweeter in aroma and taste. Agaves harvested in the lowlands, on the other hand, have a more herbaceous fragrance and flavor. Mexican laws state that tequila can be produced only in the state of Jalisco and limited regions in the states of Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas. Mexico has claimed the exclusive international right to the word "tequila". Tequila is most often made at a 38–40% alcohol content (76–80 proof), but can be produced between 31–55% alcohol content (70–110 proof).

Despite such rich cultural background and nationalism surrounding it, the word tequila itself was made and remains most famous across the world due to the worldwide music hit "Tequila", released by North American/Mexican rock/swing band The Champs. The 1958 Latin-flavored rock and roll instrumental became a #1 hit on both the pop and R&B charts at the time of its release and continues to be strongly referenced in pop culture to this day. The saxophone-lead track would be the Champs' only hit song, relegating them to one-hit wonder status. Contemporary to this release was "La Bamba", released by Los Lobos, which highlighted the ongoing tendency of Latino Rock fusion in North American music.

Tequila in Mexican Sopa Operas

The agave plant and distilled tequila that is extracted from it is such an important part of Mexican identity that even soap operas entirely based around the industry, harvesting, commercialisation and traditions conneted to the beverage are concentrated in the day-to-day life of Mexican television. Logos, mascots, emblems, uniforms, television commercials and soap operas all relate back to tequila. Most notable of all is 2007 Telenovela 9Soap Opera) "Destilando Amor" (Distilling Love), starring Angélica Rivera and Eduardo Yáñez as the main protagonists and was set primarily in Tequila, Jalisco. It is a remake of the 1994 Colombian telenovela "Café, con aroma de mujer", and was nominated for twelve Premios TVyNovelas of which it won ten including Best Telenovela of the Year.


This article uses material from, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0. All photographs are attributed to Olmeca Altos Inc.







Current Comments

No Comments have yet been Added

Add Comment