If you’ve always regarded tequila as a mere addition to your margarita, prepare to have your perception transformed by Ana Martinez. As the resident tequila expert at Hilton Los Cabos, she hosts agave spirits tastings at the resort’s Sotol Bar and La Biblioteca, where a museum-like collection of premium tequilas and mezcals surrounds a high-top bar table. Martinez’s infectious enthusiasm and passion for agave spirits will leave you with a newfound appreciation after just one hour of her class.
Martinez’s expertise in Mexican tequilas, mezcals, and agaves mirrors the knowledge of a wine sommelier in vinification. As a leading authority, she delights in sharing her wealth of knowledge with Hilton Los Cabos guests. During her sessions, she imparts firsthand insights into flavor profiles, the craftsmanship of master distillers in the region, and provides ample tastings and delectable small bites while delving into the historical aspects of various Mexican regions where agave plants are grown and their spirits distilled.
Beyond clarifying the how and where of tequila and mezcal production (tequila must originate from the tequila region in the Mexican state of Jalisco and be made from Weber Blue agave, while mezcal can be produced anywhere in Mexico from over 30 types of agave), Martinez offers valuable tips on how to select your favorites for home consumption. Here’s a hint: despite the nearly 2,000 registered tequila brands, only around 200 distilleries exist. Therefore, if you fancy a particular brand, the likelihood is high that you’ll appreciate another produced in the same distillery, much like finding a winemaker you favor who crafts varietals for various wineries.
Martinez covers the origin of the infamous tequila/mezcal worm and explains the unique curvature of the various tasting glasses, one of which she designed herself. She also provides guidance on how to decipher a tequila label and doesn’t hold back from sharing her own preferences for agave spirits, along with her reasons. (She holds a special fondness for the ultra-premium Loco brand due to its boutique quality and unadulterated agave essence, free from the influence of oak or other added flavors often found in many other brands.)
In addition to her role as the resident tequila expert, Martinez serves as the resort’s assistant director of food & beverage. She can craft a signature agave cocktail for special occasions, such as a romantic beachfront dinner overlooking the Sea of Cortez. For larger group events in the resort’s diverse restaurant venues, each offering breathtaking ocean views, she can advise on a curated bar experience. Martinez is also more than happy to guide guests through Sotol’s “Agave Bible,” a comprehensive list of tasting notes for nearly 200 agave spirits.
“I relish the opportunity to create unique experiences and to share my extensive knowledge of agave spirits with our guests and team members,” Martinez expressed. “I love being able to teach the cultural aspects and traditions of small communities and explaining that there is more to agave spirits than the dominant brands that are prevalent in the market. The part of conducting a tasting that I enjoy the most is being able to convey how the generations and the historical essence of a community are reflected in the final product of agave spirits.”
Hilton Los Cabos’ Agave Spirits Tastings take place on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Private tastings can be arranged upon request, but advanced reservations are essential.