By Adriana Ermter
AHH, TEQUILA. Once synonymous with frat boys and shot skis, the popular spirit is having a makeover. Or rather, we’ve all finally come to our senses, realizing what agave distillers have known for decades — that tequila is enjoyed best one sip at a time. According to the Beverage Information Group’s 2021 Liquor Handbook, those sips are expanding, too, by a whopping 9.4 percent in 2020 to 21.5 million nine-litre cases, making tequila the number-one, increasing-liquor category over the past five years. “Tequila really brings people together as a celebratory drink,” explains Nick Jonas. The 29-year-old American singer, songwriter and actor would know. He, alongside John Varvatos, the multi-award-winning menswear designer, co-founded their own tequila company, Villa One in 2019. “It’s a staple for me when I’m getting together and celebrating with friends.” Crafted from sustainably sourced, five- to seven-year-old blue weber agave plants and artesian well water, Jonas and Varvatos’ premium label produces three bottles. The Silver, often referred to as a blanco 98 or white tequila, is the purest expression of the agave, as it is unaged and can be served immediately. The Reposado, which means “rested” in Spanish, is aged in American oak barrels for approximately six months and boasts hints of chocolate and vanilla when imbibed. The brand’s Añejo, which translates to mean “mature,” is the patriarch of Villa One’s tequila family and is aged by the same process but for a minimum of one year, giving it a smooth, rich profile.
“ WE PRODUCE VILLA ONE IN OUR OWN FACTORY IN JALISCO, MEXICO, USING ONLY 100 PERCENT BLUE WEBER AGAVE.”
“We produce Villa One in our own factory in Jalisco, Mexico, using only 100 percent blue weber agave,” says Varvatos. While tequila can only be produced within five areas of the sunny country — Guanajuanto, Michoacan, Nayarit, Tamaulipas and, of course, Jalisco — the succulent is as equally sourced from Mexico’s highlands as it is the lowlands. Much like wines grapes, agave’s flavour is credited to its terrain. Highland tequilas, as the name suggests, are produced at a higher elevation and typically boast a sweet and floral bouquet. Its lowland counterpart is produced in lower valley regions and can taste more earthy, almost mineral like, and herbaceous. “Our agave is sourced both from the highlands and lowlands, which creates our unique taste profile,” says Varvatos. “They are blended by our master distiller Arturo Fuentes, who is known as the ‘Godfather’ of tequila.” Which, naturally, would make Jonas and Varvatos the spirit’s co-consiglieres, as they know and practice tequila’s sipping rules and rituals better than most. “John and I really immersed ourselves in the craftsmanship and art that goes into every step of this process,” a. rms Jonas. “As tequila lovers, we’ve really brought a lot of passion and attention to detail to our product.”
For one, they both drink it almost exclusively. As a Type 1 diabetic, tequila’s low- calorie, low carb, low-sugar intake works for Jonas, whereas Varvatos “clicked” with the spirit in the ’90s and hasn’t looked back. Tequila’s timeless simplicity, they say, is also universally appealing. As an on-the-rocks pour, it equates to less pomp and circumstance, allowing for more time spent in the moment leisurely swirling, inhaling, sipping and interacting with others. After all, that’s how the duo’s friendship first began.
“Nick and I became fast friends seven years ago,” says Varvatos, who attributes their initial connection to music, art, fashion and tequila. All combined, it eventually led to the two to collaborate on a capsule clothing collection and a fragrance, both with success. As for the link that led them to where they are now: tequila, of course. “After each di. erent project we were working on, we would decompress with a great glass of tequila,” says Jonas, which led to talk about “building a brand together one day. That’s where the spark of the idea was formed for Villa One.” Just one small but mighty sip at a time.