What Is Cristalino Tequila & How To Drink It?

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Born in the sun-drenched fields of Jalisco, Mexico, tequila has been the heart and soul of many a celebration. But as with all things, evolution is inevitable… cue cristalino tequila.

Cristalino may be clear, but it’s certainly not your average tequila blanco. This relatively new player in the game has made quite the entrance. 

Imagine the traditional añejo tequila you know and love, but cristalino tequila is stripped of its colour, presenting itself in a pristine, transparent form, yet… (wait for it)… retaining all the depth and flavour. 

Don Julio Cristalino
Credit: Don Julio

What Is Cristalino Tequila?

Cristalino tequila is an aged añejo or extra añejo that has been filtered through charcoal, so it’s stripped of its colour yet retains barrel-aged flavours of smooth oak, rich fruits, and vanilla. 

What Does Tequila Cristalino Taste Like?

Cristalino tequila provides fresh agave flavours of citrus and vegetal hints upfront, becoming richer on mid-palate with flavours of oak, caramel, almonds, fruits and spice.

Who First Created Cristalino Tequila?

Cristalino tequila was first introduced by Don Julio, the tequila producer who pioneered this style of tequila in 2012. It is aged and then filtered to remove the colour, resulting in a clear yet complex spirit. (source)

How Is Cristalino Tequila Made?

distillery vats


Much like its amber counterparts, cristalino starts its life as any other, in a tequila distillery. It undergoes the usual fermentation and distillation processes using Blue Weber agave.


Here’s where things get interesting. After distillation, the tequila is aged in oak barrels for between 6 months and 3 years, absorbing all the rich flavours and taking on a golden hue (like reposado, añejo or extra añejo).


This is the game-changer. Once the ageing process is complete, the cristalino tequila is filtered (typically through activated charcoal), removing the colour but retaining the deep, mature flavours. 

The Final Result 

A flavoursome tequila with the complexity of an añejo or extra añejo but with the mind-boggling crystal clearness of tequila blanco.

How To Drink Cristalino Tequila 

Margarita cocktail

Now, I’ve ploughed my way through tequila blanco, reposado, añejo and extra añejo, yet nothing quite compares to the experience of cristalino as a sipping tequila


Tequila purists would argue that sipping neat is the only way to truly appreciate cristalino. Pour it into a glass, let it breathe, and take a moment to savour the aroma. Then, take a sip and let the flavours wash over you.

On the Rocks

A close second in the hierarchy of tequila consumption. The chill of the ice cubes enhances the smoothness of the cristalino; plus, as the ice melts, the water opens up more of the barrel-aged flavours.

As A Shot

For me, this is a no; cristalino tequila is too flavoursome and smooth for the tequila, salt and lime shenanigans.


While I’m a firm believer in enjoying cristalino tequila in its unadulterated form, I certainly won’t turn my nose up at a well-crafted cocktail or a tequila mixer either! 

Mixologists worldwide are experimenting with this clear wonder, and the results are spectacular. I personally recommend you try cristalino in a Margarita with flair or a Paloma to remember.

4 Cristalino Tequila’s To Consider

Casamigos Cristalino Tequila
Credit: Casamigos

Just to get you started on the road to discovery, here are 4 cristalino tequilas (that I have reviewed) packed with flavour that every agave lover should experience.

No.TequilaMain Flavours
1Casamigos Cristalino TequilaVegetal agave, vanilla, fig, oak
2Don Julio Cristalino TequilaCaramel, almond, honey, oak
3Cazadores Cristalino Añejo TequilaWarm spices, almond, green apple, oak
4Espolon Cristalino TequilaAgagve, almond, caramel, oak

Cristalino Tequila Food Pairings

shrimp cocktail goes well with cristalino tequila

Feeling peckish? here are some delicious food painting ideas for your cristalino tequila

Shrimp CocktailThe cocktail sauce’s acidity and the shrimp’s sweetness balance the tequila’s smoothness.
GuacamoleThe rich and creamy texture of guacamole pairs nicely with the crisp and clean nature of cristalino tequila.
Spicy SalsaThe spiciness of the salsa contrasts well with the smooth and refined qualities of cristalino tequila.
Grilled VegetablesThe charred and earthy flavours of the grilled vegetables complement the smooth and subtle complexities of cristalino tequila.
Cheese BoardThe variety of flavours and textures from the cheese board provides a wide range of pairing options, highlighting different notes in the cristalino tequila.
Dark ChocolateThe dark chocolate’s bitterness and richness contrast beautifully with the smooth and slightly sweet fruity profile of the tequila.


Tequila in barrels

For all you aged agave spirit lovers out there, cristalino tequila is a different beast altogether and well worth discovering. It’s an agave delight that bridges the gap between tradition and modernity. 

Is it a fad? Maybe, only time will tell. 

Do we need a crystal-clear tequila variation with all the flavour of its añejo or extra añejo counterparts? Maybe not.

But as I sit with my glass of cristalino tequila in hand, I cannot help but admire how rich barrel-aged flavours come from this clear agave spirit. Cheers to the evolution of the history of tequila!



Further Reading

Below are some additional articles from The Drinks Geek blog. We write articles on several fascinating areas of drinks, including different brands, drink types, cocktail recipes and more.

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