Tucked within a restored colonial building in San Miguel de Allende is the intimate Tasting Room of Casa Dragones. Found within the Dôce 18 Concept House, which houses fashion, art and design boutiques, as well as a hotel and fine-dining restaurants, the six-seat tequila bar is the smallest, and arguably most luxurious tequila bar, on Earth.
There are few luxury tequila brands that have mastered the art of sipping tequila quite like Casa Dragones, considered one of the finest sipping tequilas on the market. It’s known for its hand-numbered and signed bottles, and its main bottle, Joven, is made from 100% blue agave silver. Far more than a tequila for margaritas (though we’d be lying if we said it wasn’t delicious for those, too), Casa Dragones is designed exclusively to sip neat, and the brand’s tequila maestros (and maestras) encourage those who sip it to really understand the complexity of the flavors, similar to whisky.
A tequila as special as this deserves an equally as beautiful Tasting Room. The tequila brand enlisted renowned New York-based design duo Meyer Davis and leading Mexican designer Gloria Cortina to bring their vision to life.
Bertha González Nieves is the co-founder, first maestra of tequilera, and matriarch of the Casa Dragones family. The powerful Mexican businesswoman exclusively told Forbes that the design idea was to showcase Mexican craftsmanship.
“Our vision in designing Casa Dragones Tasting Room was to express our love of the craft as a modern tequila producer and our commitment to showcasing Mexican craftsmanship,” González Nieves says. “The space itself acknowledges the ritual of tasting by creating a tiny six-seat destination where the bar and the person behind the bar are the main actors, able to provide a fully ceremonial experience of tasting.”
The Tasting Room features 4,000 obsidian tiles, an homage to the Mexican stone found in their agave fields in Tequila, Jalisco.
“Our design team traveled to Casa Dragones’ rich agave fields in the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt, in Tequila, Jalisco, to collect large stones of obsidian,” she says. “They then embarked on the painstaking process of transforming the obsidian into the iridescent tiles that represent the rich agricultural soil in which Casa Dragones’ agaves are harvested. The tiles create a stunning, sensory backdrop to the tasting experience as a very physical representation of the soil that nourishes our agave plants.”
The ambient-lit room features a brass bar and gold shelving details, along with a gold-tinged, vintage-inspired mirrors, which make the space feel quite large.
“When you look at the space, it resembles a chamber in the shape of the Casa Dragones bottle,” says Will Meyer, co-founder of design firm Meyer Davis. “Our philosophy was to play up on the ceremonial chamber of tasting. Brass shelves were mounted to display the Casa Dragones bottles and boxes and complement the black, iridescent obsidian tile. The obsidian tile is a highly reflective surface, which provides an incredible amount of depth to the room.”
Because only six people can be seated at a time, it’s the ideal place to get an intimate education on Casa Dragones’ craftsmanship and unique way of production.
“The meticulous attention to detail that we maintain in our production process is represented in this meticulously designed room,” González Nieves says. “We believe that designing with such specific detail also enhances the experience of tasting because it enables focus and provides pleasure at the same time.”
The Casa Dragones and designers didn’t just design a room, but an experience, which comes together with dramatic effect.
“Upon entering the Tasting Room, guests are asked to sit down and listen before the tasting begins,” González Nieves says. “At this point, we play a recording of the actual sounds of the jimadors chopping the agaves, fully transporting them to the fields where we harvest.”
The beautiful contrast of the historic building with the modernly designed Tasting Room honors Casa Dragones’ legacy: a modern spirit using the expertise of centuries-old craftsmanship.
“The Casa Dragones Tasting Room is a multilayered homage to tradition and ceremony and a celebration of excellence in craftsmanship,” says Meyer. “The architecture literally embodies the essence of Casa Dragones and offers an experiential understanding of the importance of the product — you understand it in a visceral way.”