By: Nan McCreary
For many Americans— as well as others throughout the world — enjoying tequila means downing a shot of the spirit with a dash of salt and a slice of lime. To Terray Glasman, founder of Austin-based Amorada Tequila, the drink is much more than an alcoholic beverage. Rather, it’s a reflection of her culture, with memories of food, love, laughter and celebrations complimented by the special juice from the agave that flourishes in the hills surrounding Jalisco, Mexico. From these memories — and respect for tradition — Glasman created an ultra-premium spirit to be sipped and savored, much like fine wine, packaged in beautiful hand-crafted bottles, each a one-of-a-kind work of art.
Born in Mexico City, it was Glasman’s Mexican roots, and frequent trips there for her telecommunications company, that inspired her to jump into the tequila business. “When I traveled to Mexico, I found myself always going to the agave fields and thinking, ‘I really love tequila, and what’s available in the U.S. I don’t like,”’ Glasman said. “I am very picky about tequila. I don’t want it to burn; I want it to be smooth and tasteful.”
It took Glasman five years to find a distillery that shared her passion for making tequila the “old way,” that is, a tequila with no additives – that would express the flavor of the barrels, and nothing else. Together, she and the distillery crafted a recipe made from 100 percent Weber Blue Agave, which is the gold standard for purists in the tequila world. They selected plants that grow in the red volcanic soil in the Highlands, which generally produce sweeter and smoother-tasting tequilas, with definite floral and citrus notes. As a rule of thumb, the Weber Blue Agave takes five to eight years to mature. Glasman’s recipe specifically calls for waiting eight years before extracting the juice of the Piña, or pineapple, inside the agave.
Once Glasman mastered the formula, she began to design a bottle that would “reflect the love of the product” inside of it. “Amorada stems from the word enamorada which means ‘in love,’” she told Beverage Master Magazine. “I wanted to create a bottle that everyone would love, a bottle that was not only strikingly beautiful but also something people could use after they’ve consumed the tequila, be it a decanter or a container for flowers or a candle.”
The patented, visually-stunning bottles are available in cobalt blue, amber or red, depending on the style of tequila inside. Every bottle is hand-crafted (with the exception of the hand-blown red Anejo bottle), hand-etched with Glasman’s signature, and hand-labeled. The Anejo bottles are also filled manually since no two bottles are alike. “The bottles have come a long way to get to your table,” Glasman said. “A lot of love and passion has gone into each bottle, and each has a unique personality. I love admiring each bottle and their beautiful imperfections.”
Amorada Tequila made its debut in 2014. Currently, the company produces three types of tequila: a Blanco, a Reposado and an Anejo. The traditionally unaged Blanco comes in a cobalt blue bottle, and, according to Amorada Tequila’s descriptors, “the pure essence of agave gives way to subtle pineapple and earth with pepper and vegetable lingering momentarily.” In an amber bottle, the Reposado is “rested in once-used French Cognac barrels for up to eight months. When this Reposado first hits the tongue and palate, vanilla, brown sugar, earth and oak marry and linger for several seconds. In the moments after, these aromatics give way to an assemblage of intense almond, clove and cinnamon on the nose.” The Anejo is “aged for a minimum of 18 months in both Bourbon and French Cognac. Ample vanilla and oak are prevalent when first sipping this complex Anejo, but only linger for several seconds before transitioning into tobacco and caramel. As these flavors dissipate, rich butterscotch takes over and coats the glass.”
In addition to these three tequilas, Glasman is producing an Extra Anejo, which ages for 44 months, first in Cognac barrels, then in bourbon barrels and finally in Sauternes barrels. The tequila, which will be released at the end of 2019, will be bottled in a stunning handcrafted black bottle, which is the final stages of design.
Tequila to Savor
Amorada Tequila is not something you shoot in a bar. This is tequila to savor. “Every flavor profile in our aged tequilas come from the barrels themselves,” Glasman said. “There are no sugars, or other flavors added.”
Glasman uses virgin synthetic corks to prevent oxidation or impurities which could compromise the flavor. “When you drink the Blanco,” she said, “you get the true essence of the agave plant. Good tequila always starts with the Blanco.” As a testament to its quality, in 2017, Wine Enthusiast gave Amorada Blanco a 4-star plus rating. One reviewer said, “This Blanco tequila is superb! The fact that it’s not filtered gives it a delicious, floral aroma and a full, bright, buttery, earthy taste. This tequila is a throwback to how real Blanco tequilas should be made – traditionally. Makes for a delicious margarita as well! Not to mention how beautiful the hand-crafted, cobalt-blue, ‘heavy’ bottles are!”
For Glasman, this pat-on-the-back validates her theory on the proper way to drink tequila: treat it like a fine wine. Similar to wine, you open the bottle and allow the tequila to breathe, then pour it into a glass and swirl and sniff to appreciate the aromas fully. Finally, you taste the tequila, and enjoy it slowly, one sip at a time. Tequila, like wine, can also be artfully paired with food. As both a tequila and food aficionado, Glasman regularly works with her team of experts, Austin bartenders and chefs to create menus for tequila dinners. Her favorite pairings include Blanco with seafood, Reposado with steak and Anejo with desert, preferably chocolate cake. For tequila lovers, Glasman includes a rotating list of tequila recipes on her web page, www.amoradatequila.com.
Ever the entrepreneur, Glasman is always alert for opportunities to market her tequila. When big distributors wouldn’t take on her product, she decided to self-distribute and acquired a distribution license so she could sell to restaurants and liquor stores herself. “It’s a lot of work, but I love it because we get to know our customers.” Glasman has also managed to develop a relationship with Total Wine & More, and now has her product in all of the company’s 335 stores. Most recently, she was able to enter China through the Alibaba Midnight Pitch, an Austin event where small business people pitch their brands to Chinese markets. “They only accepted 10 percent of the products,” Glasman said, “I felt like I’d won the lottery.” Currently, Glasman is preparing patents and trademarks so she can distribute in Mexico.
A Champion for Women
As one of the few female tequila makers in the world, Glasman has a special affinity for reaching out to women. “I’m a woman in man’s world,” she told Beverage Master Magazine, “but I’m a champion for women, and believe in doing what I can to empower them. My bottles are made for women. Men like them too, but they’re more interested in the tequila inside.” Glasman’s goal, she said, is to let women know that tequila does not have to be harsh. “I want to educate people that there are tequilas you can sip — like ours— that can be enjoyed like a good Cognac or a fine wine.”
Glasman not only considers women to be her target audience, but she is also committed to supporting those in need and has created a non-profit, the Amorada Love Movement (ALM), where five cents of each bottle sold is donated to helping single mothers. “When I started Amorada Tequila, one of my goals was to give back,” Glasman said. “I wanted to create a company where people love the product and love the bottle, and at the same time help other people.” Besides promoting ALM, Glasman is very active in the Austin community, and donates tequila for charitable events, whether they’re for pets, foster children, or veterans or, as she said, “anything that has a cause in Texas, whatever the need, within reason.”
A passion for tequila, a passion for art and aesthetics, and a passion for empowering women are the defining principles behind the success of Terray Glasman and Amorada Tequila. “I love what I do, and I can’t imagine doing anything else,” Glasman said. “When I used to travel to Mexico with my telecommunications company, I always remembered the beautiful occasions of multiple families coming together for parties and gatherings, and I remembered the tequila, which is central to the culture in Mexico. Making tequila brings back memories of my life and when I traveled. I also found myself helping women in need. With my business — producing tequila — I can support both of those passions simultaneously. I truly believe that in this world you can’t take anything with you when you leave, but at least when I leave, I will know that I’ve left something meaningful behind, and that’s a beautiful feeling.”
For more information on Amorada Tequila, visit their website at www.amoradatequila.com