If the name of this product alone doesn’t confuse you into oblivion, the description of it just might. Apologies in advance.
While colloquially billed as a tequila, it’s officially a liqueur, but one made with 100% blue agave tequila. It’s green in color, but flavored with oranges. Or rather, green oranges (or rather, natural green orange flavor) which is a thing that happens with oranges in some parts of the world, particularly warmer climes. I have to presume this is billed as a liqueur instead of a flavored tequila because of some arcane industry rules… and yet the product carries a NOM designation and hits 40% abv.
Confused? Here’s the short of it: By infusing tequila with orange flavor and color via annatto extract, you can add Cenote to your margarita and skip the triple sec. If you can figure out how to open the wildly designed double-swing-top bottle. (That’s a green orange on top!)
With Cenote finally open, I was able to see how this bold experiment panned out. My results? Mixed.
First off, the nose: It’s got a clear orange character to it, but no sweetness. Grassy agave notes are prominent as well, but the bitter orange notes dominate, backed up with a few grinds of white pepper. The citrus notes grow even stronger in the glass
With that green color shimmering in the glass, the mind expects a ready-to-drink margarita, but what it gets is a very dry blanco tequila with a citrus peel kick. Again, there’s no sweetness at all, which makes one wonder how this could be classified as a liqueur. The orange element does do effective work at masking the underlying agave character, for better or worse. What’s left behind is more of a lime leaf note, with a slightly creamy quality and perhaps a pinch of mint lingering on the finish.
Can you forgo triple sec in a margarita if you use Cenote? Yes, but you will probably want to add some sweetener in the form of simple syrup or agave nectar, as the sweetness provided by the orange liqueur will be lacking. Whether that makes for a better margarita than doing it the old fashioned way is an exercise left for the reader.
80 proof. NOM 1472.
B+ / $72 / tequilacenote.com