Tequila and the art of cocktails

Maestro Dobel’s annual Mexican design commission to celebrate International Tequila Day is set to make a stir this year... followed by a pour

Food and Drink 28 Jun 2022

Maestro Dobel

This year Maestro Dobel’s Celebrate Brilliance project to mark International Tequila Day

Just as there is more to tequila than margaritas and shots, there is more to Mexican art than Day of the Dead skulls. Each year, around International Tequila Day on 24 July, premium tequila brand Maestro Dobel counters the avalanche of salt and lime wedges and hashtagged party posts with something a little more in keeping with the craft behind its agave spirit. This year, Maestro Dobel’s Celebrate Brilliance project has been curated by Raffaella Goffredi, former Christie’s senior design specialist and founder of online retailer Revolution of Forms, which specialises in Mexican design made from natural or recycled materials and using traditional craft methods.

Raffaella Goffredi
Designer Liliana Ovalle

Goffredi, in turn, commissioned London-based Mexican designer Liliana Ovalle, who was named Designer of the Year at the Mexico Design Fair 2021, to come up with the blueprints for a set of three artisanal pieces collectively called “Encuentros” (“encounters”). And, just as the use of craft techniques (cooking the agave in a brick oven for 36 hours vs 12 hours in a pressure cooker) to make Maestro Dobel is not for tradition’s sake but because it improves quality, these pieces of design actually have a purpose… mixing cocktails. 

There is a smoky mixing glass conceived by Ovalle and handcrafted by Mexican glass artist Diego Vides Borrell, accompanied by a silver-tipped glass stirrer shaped like a coa, the sharp-tipped spade that the jimadores use out in the fields to harvest the blue agave, digging up and trimming down the huge heart of a plant that takes around eight years to reach full maturity. The set is completed by an incredibly elegant jigger made from dark Negro del Sur marble from the Chiapas region of Mexico, hand-hewn by And Jacob, a family of eight stonemason brothers in Mexico City, to another Ovalle design. It is a regular 50ml jigger on the inside, so it fulfils its purpose, despite its unusual size. 

It was this willingness to confound expectations that prompted Goffredi to commission Ovalle for this project: ‘I first encountered Liliana’s work at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York and I could see we shared an interest in pushing the boundaries of traditional craft.’

The designer herself says she wanted to explore reinterpretation and experimentation in this cocktail set: ‘In my designs, I wanted to capture the way Maestro Dobel has mastered the transformation of blue agave into unique products, from cristalino to smoked tequila.’ 

She is referring to two innovative tequilas from the distillery: Humito, the first-ever smoked tequila (which has a great hybrid flavour of traditional silver tequila and mezcal characteristics); and Diamante, a charcoal-filtered reposado tequila (which has the softening, smooth caramel and honey effect from wood ageing but is diamond-clear).

The Maestro DOBEL Revolution of Forms Limited Edition Set (£250, including a bottle of Maestro Dobel Diamante) is available to purchase in the UK exclusively from Harvey Nichols, in store and online, from 21 July.