Master tequilero Germán González Gorrochotegui is indeed a master of his craft. The proof is not only in his tequila, Tears of Llorona, but also in his easy-going expertise of the spirit.
Germán comes from a long line of Mexican tequila makers—including his father, Guillermo González—who taught him the family craft after founding Tequilera La Gonzaleña in 1977. In fact, Germán is carrying on the tequila-making traditions of his great-grandfather, General Manuel González, who was President of Mexico from 1880-1884.
1. You come from a long line of tequila makers, at what point did you know tequila was your calling?
Germán González: Well, I love tequila. It has been all my life making tequila. My father taught me how to make tequila and it’s my passion. It’s in my veins. I think it was always there. I’m from Mexico City, but I used to spend all my summers at the ranches in Tamaulipas. Planting the agaves, taking care of the plantations and then when I was old enough to get into the distillation, I started working directly.
2. Your Tears of Llorona tequila is meant to drink neat. What makes the spirit unique in that sense?
Germán González: Well, I think everything started with my father. He only produced tequila from 100 percent agave in the late ’70s. And we started exporting to the States in 1983. And all his tequila was natural, no additives, no coloring, no flavoring. Just good agave—and that’s what I learned from him. When I started thinking of Tears of Llorona, I only thought of a tequila that could be at the same level as the top bourbons, top cognacs of the world. It’s 100 percent natural, aged for five years with the most mature agaves that I could find. So it’s something to drink neat, and I always say, “It’s good to drink only with friends, but only with your best, best friends.”
The big word for tequila is called patience. If you’re going to get into this business, patience is number one.
3. You use scotch, sherry, and brandy barrels to age the tequila?
Germán González: Yes, my father taught me that the tequila, the best way to age tequila is in used scotch whisky barrels, but after I left my family company, I wanted to create something different. So that’s why I started experimenting with different barrels. At the end, Tears of Llorona number three, it has only scotch to get the dryness, the brandy barrels to get a little sweeter, and the sherry barrels for fruitiness. I love sherry and I like the fruitiness that comes with it. It’s a blending that I do at the end of five years of each. It’s aged simultaneously for five years.
4. Tears of Llorona was named after the La Llorona in Mexican folklore. What’s the story your father told you?
Germán González: Well, the Llorona is a very old Mexican legend, and I will never forget my father telling me, “If you don’t behave, the Llorona will come and pick you up.” And that was a good way to educate us.
5. What’s the best way to enjoy Tears of Llorona?
Germán González: A good tequila, especially an aged tequila, needs to breathe a little bit to get all the oxygen that is needed. The glass in this case [almost like a white wine glass], I like this glass because it’s rounded on the end so once you pour the tequila, it gets all the oxygen that it needs and it’s a little closed on the mouth so it lets breathe all the aromas. I love it neat, but if you don’t have these kind of glasses, you can go for old fashioned glass.
The way that I prefer it the most is after dinner with my wife, go out to the porch, have Tears of Llorona, espresso, and if it’s possible, a cigar. It makes the night.