Tequila Rose lays claim to being the world’s best-selling strawberry cream liqueur. You could have told me it was the world’s only strawberry cream liqueur, except I know it’s not because we just reviewed another one, from Sugarlands.
The twist here, as the name suggests, is that Tequila Rose is not made with moonshine but rather with tequila. What do you do with it? “Tequila Rose is a fantastic addition to mixed drinks or adult milkshakes, but it’s always been best served as a chilled shot,” says Patrick Fee, vice president of marketing at McCormick Distilling Company, which makes the stuff. In order to tell when the bottle is ready for drinking, Tequila Rose has introduced a new, color-changing label. The roses turn from silver to pink when it is cold enough to drink.
Here’s another quote that I just love: “It’s the rare brand that taps into the nostalgia of one generation, who remember the first time they tried it and who they were with, while also inspiring a whole new generation of drinkers who love the taste as well as the highly Instagrammable pink spirit and black bottle.”
This is my first go-round with Tequila Rose. Let’s see if I am ever able to forget my experience.
With the dead-on color of Pepto-Bismol, Tequila Rose is awfully off-putting from the start. The aroma of strawberry candy is pervasive from the moment the bottle is open, with a moderate vanilla character once you stick your nose down into it. The palate is largely as expected: very sweet, with ample strawberry character. Floral notes aren’t just suggested by the name of the spirit; there’s a real rose petal note to the liqueur that comes on fairly strong as the sweet berry notes fade. The finish finds just a hint of herbal character — the tequila element finally showing its face — though this feels like it doesn’t belong with all the sweet strawberry cream that’s come before.
I had a really hard time figuring out what to make of Tequila Rose. It has some interesting elements in the mix, but they don’t work well together, and the whole conflagration is just much too sweet. The most troubling part of the experience is the lasting, cloying aftertaste, which hangs on the palate — and seemingly the entire room — for what feels like an eternity, becoming increasingly unwelcome with each passing moment.