What Exactly Is Cristalino Tequila and Why is it Everywhere?
Most people are familiar with blanco, reposado and añejo tequila, but what about cristalino? This type of tequila is nowhere near as popular as the other three, but it has been gaining fans and getting more notice over the past few years as tequila brands experiment with the category.
Cristalino is essentially añejo, or aged, tequila that has been filtered (often through charcoal) to remove the color it picks up as it spends time in the barrel. The result is a tequila that has the complexity and character of an añejo with the crisp, bright notes of a blanco. These are five cristalino tequila bottles that you should try now.
Qui differs from other cristalino tequila in the fact that it’s aged for a longer period of time—three-and-a-half years—in Tennessee whiskey and French Bordeaux barrels. It then undergoes what the brand calls “proprietary filtration” to remove the color from the liquid. Qui encourages you to use the tequila in a variety of cocktails, although sipping neat is not a bad idea either.
“We set out to democratize the once-inaccessible extra-añejo category,” says owner Medhat Ibrahim. “Therefore, we don't make a blanco, reposado or añejo, just the platinum extra añejo, as our goal was to create one of the highest-end sipping tequilas but accessibly priced.”