I like lime, I like salt, and so I always thought that I liked tequila. I’d order those along with my neat shot on occasion, usually when I could hear waves lapping against some shore and seagulls in the distance, but I’d never really explored the whole genre much more than that. Until I met Germán Gonzalez one afternoon at a tasting on what was then the private dining space at McCrady’s restaurant in Charleston, SC. His T1 and Tears of Llorona tequila was served neat and trust me, it didn’t need to be accompanied by anything, not even ice.

When it was time to visit San Antonio, I requested a quiet afternoon chat with Germán almost immediately. And when he, one of the best tequila makers in the world agreed, I knew that I was forging ahead, even though all I remember of Spanish class was my teacher’s Southern accent when she said, “ro-ho.” Germán , always a gentleman, forgave my stumbling pronunciation since it came with great enthusiasm.

If you have a chance to taste his tequilas, and you imbibe, I urge you to, even if you think you know this spirit. They are meant to be savored, and a sip is all it takes to know that a lot of thought, passion, and time goes into these beverages.