There’s a young tequila brand that is asking, almost begging: Are you ready to drink a tequila that’s synonymous with danger? I hope you’re shaking in your boots, shoes, or sandals, but don’t worry, I don’t mean “doing shots.” It’s about PELIGROSO! (Google translate says that means: Dangerous!)
I pose the question to myself, and the tequila snob in me turns up my nose and doesn’t answer. But I lack the disposition and wallet (I’m a writer, after all) of a snob, and isn’t danger always a part of “extreme” fun? The Peligroso folks sent this intrepid tequila journalist a bottle of their silver tequila to taste and writer about my impressions.
I typically don’t write much about my observations and opinions about bottles, labels, and packaging. But in the here today, gone tomorrow reality that is the reality of the tequila-making/importing/drinking industry, Peligroso has a clever, sometimes tongue-in-cheek, branding strategy that I really like. Some of you may disagree, but sometimes it isn’t just all about “the juice” and the way a tequila bottle presents itself to you can influence the taste. (Feel free to express disagreement – or agreement – in the comments section.)
Breaking down Peligroso (NOM 1107, Tequila el Viejito, S.A. de C.V.) before cracking the bottle open:
- “Peligroso” = “Dangerous”?
“Dangerous” is a literal translation of the Spanish word “peligroso.” Step outside and pay attention to the context of the way the word is used (think “nastaaay” or “uh-uhhhh!”). Sound out the word, and you’re not even sure you want to drink something that’s “Gross-o.”
- The logo is rattlesnake that is spiraling/hanging into something that looks like an explosion of thin, wavy sun rays.
- Tied around the neck of the bottle is a plastic charm of that same rattlesnake – perhaps a nod to Partida’s spirit bird or Corrido’s guitar pick?
- The tequila weighs in at 84 proof (42% alcohol by volume), just slightly above tequila’s normal 80 proof (40% alcohol by volume). For this reason, there’s a “42” in subscript by the “Silver” classification (perhaps a nod to Don Julio’s pricey 1942?). The marketing material claims that the higher proof makes it “more Peligroso.” (Note that in Mexico, most tequila is sold at 76 proof/38% alcohol by volume. I guess that means drinking tequila in the U.S. is always more dangerous than drinking it in Mexico.)
Like the extreme sports crowd (surfers, skateboarders, snowboarders, etc.) Peligroso woos in their marketing strategy might proclaim: it’s time to dive into danger! First, of course, we have to get the lid off. Peligroso’s solid cork stopper, adorned with stained wood and aged metal, stayed sealed during shipment and appears to seal tightly when stored. A tight seal is important, especially when the tequila is over proof. A poorly sealed bottle allows for evaporation, which lowers the proof of the alcohol inside and would negate the reason for buying overproof tequila to begin with.
A Dangerous Tequila Tasting
Peligroso has a nose that beckons – a strong, sweet baked agave scent that is backed with subtler notes of lavender and vanilla. There is a feminine, floral-like quality that’s very light, but it lingers. Don’t let this catch you off guard – this is not ordinary tequila. Its higher proof may not make it dangerous, but it does mean a stronger initial “shock” to your lips and palate. Be prepared.
As warned, the first sip is strong and fiery/peppery. As hinted by the nose, it opens up nicely with notably strong, sweet agave flavor that has a muted floral and citrus character (more lime-like than orange). The higher alcohol content ensures a very warm finish.
Peligroso Silver makes a satisfying sipper, although I recommend letting it air out a bit to take away some of the harsher overtones inherent in the high alcohol content. This will temper some of the harshness and leave you with a robust, flavorful tequila. Some might describe Peligroso as “smooth,” but without some air, this one has got quite a kick.
Play it Safe with a Cocktail
Peligroso, like other overproof tequila (over the standard 80 proof for most tequilas sold in the U.S.), is a great tequila for mixologists (amateur and professional alike) because of the higher proof. Tequila at a higher proof tends to offer more detectable agave flavors in a cocktail, thus making it easier to mix with more complex and hearty ingredients than you would to create a cocktail with standard proof tequila. Higher proof tequila will also yield a heartier agave flavor in your infusions.
My favorite Peligroso cocktail is the CC Donkey Show (CC are the initials of its creator, surfboard shaper Chris Christenson), and you can find more Peligroso cocktails in a previous article.
CC Donkey Show
- 1 1/4 oz. Peligroso Silver Tequila
- 1 tsp. sugar syrup/simple syrup
- 1/4 oz. lime juice
- 3 oz. ginger beer
- 1 sprig mint
- 1 slice lime
- Combine tequila, sugar syrup, lime juice, and ginger beer over ice in a tall glass.
- Garnish with mint sprig and lime slice.
About Peligroso Tequila
From the Peligroso Tequila bottle: “Peligroso, which translates into dangerous, stands for everything about Mexico and its coveted spirit, Tequila.
“Peligroso represents the danger and geauty of Mexico…sketchy borders, dirt roads, smashed rental cars, federales, banditos, scorching sun, rugged coastline, perfect waves, fishing coolers, cold cervezas and of course, Tequila.
“When your crew sets out for a night of drinking Peligroso they know it’s going to be great time with the potential for adventure and danger.
“Peligroso personally invites you to cleanse your palate with an ice-cold beer, take a shot of our 100% Weber Blue Agave Tequila and enjoy the ride.”