Let’s start with the natural first question: Mariposa’s not tequila.
Tequila is made from roasted agave hearts which are juiced and fermented. Mariposa is made from agave nectar — a natural sweetener that’s frequently used in margaritas and other applications — plus enough vodka and tequila to bring it up to 60 proof. Rose and gardenia essences are also added.
Mariposa, made by Kentucky’s Heaven Hill, is a true liqueur, and in fact it’s nothing much like tequila at all. Extremely sweet — you can smell the sugar — the nose really just hints at agave. Imagine sniffing a margarita where the bartender forgot the limes and you’re in the ball park.
Take a sip and you’re in for another spin. The sugar rush up front is powerful and almost bruising to the palate. Then comes all the other stuff. Tequila, sure, but that vegetal agave funk is less evident than you’d think. What is surprisingly strong are the floral notes from that rose and gardenia oil. Perfumy notes emerge on the nose as they hit the tongue, doubling down on the very flowery finish. The body is thick, a natural counterpart to the honey-like sweetness that dominates the spirit.
Mariposa is a tough sell, with a lot going on and no clear direction where it’s going. As a substitute for triple sec and sweetener in a margarita? Maybe, but the last thing your typical margarita needs is more tequila flavor. And flowers. It’s something I wouldn’t mind experimenting with and more exotic drinks (and in extreme moderation) but not something I’d likely tough on its own.
As a side note, this is our 2000th post on Drinkhacker. Thanks for being a loyal visitor!
B- / $25 / facebook.com/MariposaLiqueur