I became acquainted with tequila (and mezcal) about a quarter century ago, during my undergraduate studies in archaeology and anthropology at the Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia [National School of Anthropology and History] in Mexico City. A long ongoing interest in the beginnings of the cultural interactions between the Old and New Worlds brought me in 1990 from Europe to Mexico to continue my education. A few months after my arrival, a casual remark that tequila is one of the earliest Colonial examples of merging between the Pre-Columbian and the European cultures, sparked my curiosity. I was already familiar with the peppery tasting liquor and, as a matter of fact, quite liked it. However, this insight into the tequila as a fusion of the Pre-Columbian sacred pulque with the Spaniards-imported distillation process swiftly turned my liking to a fascination, and set me on a journey of learning which continues to the present.
A frequent disappointment along this journey was not being able to find a glass that combined good quality and design with a sense of Mexico's singular artistic legacy. In early 2014 I discussed this topic with José Cruz Guillén, one of the foremost crystal engravers in Mexico. Mr. Cruz specializes in a traditional Mexican technique of glass and crystal engraving called "Pepita" [Small Seed], which originated in the sixteenth century. His stunning works can be found in many collections of hand-cut crystal in the Americas, Europe, Japan and China as well in the permanent exhibition of the Museo de Arte Popular [Popular Art Museum] in Mexico City. Among tequila aficionados, however, Mr. Guillén is best known as the engraver of the Casa Dragones' tequila bottle, widely acclaimed as one of the world's premier designs in the luxury spirits packaging.
Our shared passion for Mexican handcrafts soon catalyzed the idea of producing an exclusive line of tequila and mezcal glasses engraved with the "Pepita" technique. Deciding on the specifics took us nearly a year, but in the end we opted to follow the tequila (and the "Pepita") legacy of integrating Mexican with European crafting traditions. Three of the four types of our tequila and mezcal glasses are made from Italian or German lead-free crystal, and each glass is hand-cut in Mr. Cruz's studio with traditional "Pepita" motifs. The last one, an Old Mexico mug for mezcal and tequila called "Jarrito" [Small Jar], is hand-crafted in Mexico from ceramic (with Talavera and conventional ceramic options) or mouth-blown glass (with "Pepita" engraved and silver encased variants). I hope these glasses will bring more degustatory nuances and reflections to the legacy of your favorite agave spirits.
Romeo H. Hristov