Mise en Place: Agave Nectar

The process differs greatly between the making of the now-popular sweetener, agave nectar (high-pressure hydrolysis or the more traditional tapping of the quiote flower stem), and that of mescal or tequila (cook then press agave piñas to get aguamiel or honey water, which is then fermented and distilled). What matters most is that they share an origin in the agave family. So it’s not hard to imagine why agave sweeteners can be so useful for bringing out the agave-ness of agave-based spirits in cocktails.

Today, many tequila brands are selling their own branded agave nectar, with Milagro, Herradura and Partida being among them. But Tres Agaves Tequila makes my favorite. It comes in a 750-milliliter glass bottle that fits a standard pour spout. Thanks to the addition of a little de-mineralized water, this “cocktail-ready” nectar is perfect for mixology applications thanks to its thinner consistency, which can easily be measured with a jigger. It dissolves right into both hot and cold beverages and does not seize upon contact with ice. Just you try that with honey!

And while other sweeteners can vary from batch to batch, Tres Agaves champions consistency. “It’s made to have the same 48 Brix level for each bottle, which makes a more consistent cocktail every time versus anything else on the market,” says Tres Agaves executive vice president and partner Chris Alvarez. The San Francisco-based brand has determined this to be the ideal level of sweetness for margaritas. With a golden color and notes of fruity black tea on that palate, says Alvarez, “It’s the true flavor of roasted agave plants.” 

TresAgavesProducts.com, $7

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