Guest Columnist Ashley Elsalameen Dishes on Puro Verde Organic Tequila

Although currently located in Washington, D.C., Ashley Elsalameen is a tried-and-true Southern girl in full possession of the region’s requisite charms: modesty, manners, and a lightning-quick mind. She and I first met as teenagers, and after ten years have found ourselves reconnecting because of our mutual passion for farm-to-fork food and artisanal drink. I just love making old/new friends! Ashley is the director of marketing at her family’s business, Puro Verde Spirits, an organic tequila company with a wide presence throughout the United States and Mexico. Below, this gorgeous dame dishes on the liquid-gold libation that stirs the soul, teases you onto the dance floor, and holds court in the pantheon of spirits: Tequila!
On a recent business trip to Mexico, Ashley visited the agave fields.

“Tequila revealed our souls, unclothed our fears, and sucked out our secrets.”

The menu of La Tequila, a famed tequila bar and restaurant in Guadalajara, lists the spirit’s magical properties: It fixes broken hearts, turns men into buddies, makes women join forces, opens doors, brings out hidden beauty, and celebrates friendship. Such a refined description of the distilled intoxicant might sound far removed from the tuh-key-luh! conjured in the minds of many Americans who perhaps overindulged in college but, as you will soon learn, a special magic suffuses tequila’s past. It is the stuff from which myths, conquests, and legends are born, and it is best served as a 100%-agave variety that is preferably organic (for extra good vibes) and an adult-like sense of responsibility. As with all fine libations, tequila should be respected–it is, after all, a potent nectar of the gods.

Tequila is more than just Mexico’s most popular drink and valued export; it is an emblem, a national icon. Despite its cultural reverence, most modern-day tequila is expediently, unethically mass-produced–distilled from agave grown with chemical pesticides, mixed with food coloring and sugars, and fermented with accelerants–and these are only some of the adulterations. All is not lost, however; current production’s lack of integrity and control has inspired a few forward-thinking distillers to reclaim traditional, sustainable farming roots. It’s what my family’s company’s distiller has done, and its from these fields that we offer discerning drinkers our Puro Verde Organic Tequila.

It wasn’t too many years ago that my father first tasted its juices, and love fast ensued; in fact, it soon became the potion that all of us believed in and, as a newly-formed business team comprised of family and dear friends, we enjoyed making the magic happen in partnership with one another.

On the Mexican farmland roam hundreds of cattle, donkeys, and horses–the animals feed on the grasses and naturally fertilize our company’s single-estate bound agave. To supplement the herds’ diets, as well as the family’s, acres of corn are grown and milled on-site. The cattle also share milk with not only the family but also the surrounding community of Amatitán, just a short drive from the famed city of Tequila in the low country of Jalisco.

As a supplemental water supply for the entire lot, there is a 600’6” natural well sourced from the base of Mt. Tequila; this natural spring water goes into the each bottle of Puro Verde just before it’s sealed.

To ensure a continuous bounty of agave after each harvest, the fields self-sow their seed. Once the eight- to ten-year-old agave is harvested, the agavero farmer replants the “sons” (natural volunteers of the plant that sprout alongside their mothers). To close the loop of cooperation, once the mature agave is harvested, cooked, and crushed for its mosto (juice), the by-product plant is composted and returned to the growing fields.

My family likes to call Puro Verde naturally the best tequila because of its organic upbringing, USDA endorsement, and organic certification from one of the world’s most respected agencies, BioAgriCert. But, at the end of the day, it simply tastes good (well, more than good). Our yeast-free recipe of naturally fermented agave juice is rested in bourbon white-oak barrels for Puro Verde’s aged varieties. We recommend sipping it neat–no, really! Since the inception of Puro Verde, the only thing about drinking tequila the puckers my face is when I see people shoot it. Fine libations (like fine food) should be savored, and tequila belongs to the ranks of the increasingly popular “sipping culture” borne of people’s awakening about what (and how) they consume. The beauty of thoughtful purchases and consumer education is that manufacturers are asked to care more about how their products are made, how they affect their environment, and how the people involved in the process of its creation are taken care of.

At the beginning of this essay, I quoted from a long list of tequila’s mysterious dealings with those who imbibe. The list concludes with the following: “We should all believe in something…I believe I’ll have another tequila.” With full respect for the drink and those who contributed to its cultivation, of course!


6 thoughts on “Guest Columnist Ashley Elsalameen Dishes on Puro Verde Organic Tequila

  1. This is GREAT! What a lovely, authentic piece!! And, their tequila is AMAZING–and this pic of Ash is GREAT–looks just like her!

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