When drunkenly knocking back tequila shots on a dance floor at 3am, it's easy to forget that this is a spirit that's as complex and brilliant as the country from which it originates. But that's exactly why El Rayo exists – to help people uncover the depth and vibrance of modern Mexico, beyond the clichés.
The London-based tequila brand was founded by Tom Bishop and Jack Vereket, a couple of friends from Peckham, south-east London. When they tasted an añejo tequila that Tom’s brother had brought back from Mexico, the pair decided there and then to quit their day jobs and head straight to Guadalajara. Once there, they learnt that modern Mexico is more than a place: it's a state of mind. Inspired by new symbols of the country that went beyond images of novelty sombreros and ponchos, they became committed to presenting an authentic story of contemporary Mexican life, through the creation of a new type of tequila.
The result is a field-to-bottle spirit that's fresh and natural yet richly layered with a unique mix of savoury and vegetal notes. Created by Maestro Tequilero Oscar Garcia using hand-planted and hand-harvested blue agave, it retains as many of the complex flavours as possible. Choose from two expressions: the fresh and citrusy unaged No.1 Plata or the soft and warm No. 2 Reposado, which is aged for seven months in American white oak whiskey barrels.
In homage to tequila's genesis, the brand takes its name from Mexican folklore. The story goes that a bolt of lightning – 'El Rayo' – struck the blue agave plant, which then produced a milky, fermented liquid. Having witnessed this moment, a local campesino followed the burning glow in the distance and discovered the sweet smelling cooked agave plant.
The sprit of Mexico runs deeply through every aspect of El Rayo, from the tequila flavours to the bottle artwork, created by Mexican artist and designer Hola Lou. The striking, earthy compositions are inspired by the vibrant colours and rugged landscapes of Mexico, so you can feel that much more connected to the birthplace of tequila as you sip it.