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Host Guide: Holiday Spirits: Hemispherics

James Y. Bartlett

El Tesoro Paradiso
Made from blue agave grown on the Jalisco highland estate of Don Felipe, this tequila is a blend of mature and silver tequilas aged for five years in cognac barrels. The result is an extraordinary smooth spirit that can be sipped like a fine single malt.

San Matias Rey Sol
Casa San Matias has been producing fine tequila since 1886, and the family-owned distillery is meticulously run. Its premier brand is aged for six years in oak barrels and placed in beautiful bottles designed by Mexican artist Sergio Bustamante. Rey Sol’s wonderful flavors include apples, dill, and a hint of licorice.

Herradura Seleccion Suprema
Aged four years in white oak barrels, this fine tequila from Casa Herradura, another small, family-owned distillery, has an almost creamy feel on the palate, with hints of vanilla and cinnamon. The limited edition bottles are numbered and accentuate the liquid’s deep amber hue.

Matusalem Gran Reserva
In 1872, two brothers from Spain launched the Matusalem rum factory in Santiago de Cuba. Today, the great-great-grandson of one of the founders has repositioned the company in the Dominican Republic, but it continues to use the solera method of rum-making: Younger rums are blended with well-aged rums resting in oak casks. The Gran Reserva is aged for 15 years, which makes it almost russet in color and gives it a smooth, rounded taste and long finish.

Ypióca Ouro Cachaça
This Brazilian favorite is made from distilled sugarcane juice, which makes it lighter than molasses-based rums. Ypióca, which has been producing it since 1846, is the only distiller that ages its cachaça in balsam barrels for as long as three years. The result is a dark spirit with all the spicy flavors of Carnival. 
 

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