Country music legend George Strait is exporting Mexico’s smoothest agave.
“I’m talkin’ ’bout Código
I take it with me everywhere I go
Best tequila, baby, don’t you know
A little sip and you’re ready to roll
They make it down in Mexico
A little state called Jalisco
Where the beautiful agaves grow
I’m talkin’ ’bout Código.”
-George Strait, “Código”
If you’re a George Strait fan, you might know the song “Código.” What you might not realize is that George Strait co-owns a tequila company by that very name – Código 1530. Furthermore, he’s one of the people behind the production of world’s first and only pink tequila.
And, trust us when we say this stuff is no gimmick, but rather an earthy, brilliant, smooth sipper that’s as delicious served room temperature in a glass as it is in a cocktail.
We want to introduce you to his Código 1530 – a lineup of five tequila expressions produced in Mexico with the most rigorous attention to detail, quality, tradition, and technique. It’s been distilled and beloved for generations, but it took a country music legend and three spirits-serious friends to bring it stateside. It’s the ultimate summer tequila, whether you’re fishing by a river or sitting on a tailgate at a country music show.
The tequila now known as Código 1530 has been produced for generations in the ancient, picturesque town of Amatitán, Mexico. Amatitán is roughly 15 miles as the crow flies from Guadalajara, but it’s worlds away from the city’s hustle. The town has a little central plaza, 300-year-old ruins, and dusty, hot agave fields. Families in this region have been making tequila for as long as tequila has been made, and while George Strait didn’t create Código, he’s been instrumental in getting this incredible liquid to the United States.
“I first tried this tequila maybe eight to 10 years ago in Cabo San Lucas,” says Strait. “My friend and golfing buddy, Federico Vaughan, brought some out to the golf course in an unmarked bottle. I had never tasted any tequila that was even close. It was incredible. I immediately thought we had to get this to the United States and began asking questions. It was unnamed, from a little distillery in Amatitán, where it was made for just local friends and family, with very little sold.”
Vaughan and Strait sipped and discussed the idea for several more years, with Strait carrying bottles back to his own home to share with loved ones. He finally took the plunge. They named it Código 1530, as a nod to the heritage of the place behind it.
“Los Códigos” refers to the old-world customs and codes that still apply in Amatitán. The 1530 is a reference to the year the Spanish officially agreed to recognize this place as a city, and for centuries, Amatitán has been recognized as a nexus for truly great tequila.
What’s even more remarkable in this story is that George Strait and Federico Vaughan –alongside friends and partners Ron Snyder and Betsy Heneghan – took it one step further. They’ve done something no distiller has before in the world of tequila.
Their beautiful blanco tequila – clean, crisp, and lightly sweet – was placed into some of Napa Valley’s finest wine barrels for an extra month. What resulted was the world’s first rosé tequila.
It’s the barrel staves, imbued with Cabernet Sauvignon, that lend this aged tequila a remarkable, dusty pink coloring and a flavor you won’t soon forget.
“Rosa is a refined spirit that is as beautiful in color as it is on the palate,” Código Creative Director Heneghan says. “Its flavor profile leads with bright agave character and finishes with the soft floral notes of Cabernet, with slight hints of oak to complement the earthy qualities. The wine barrels are made by some of the best French coopers from the highest quality French White Oak. This aging process allows Rosa to rest just long enough in our fine Cabernet barrels to enrich the natural agave juice, yet not too long, in order to prevent overpowering its delicate floral notes.”
In addition to the Rosa, the Blanco and the Resposado, Código 1530 also offers a traditional Añejo and their Origen label – a six-year-aged Extra Anejo. The Jerusalem Cross is blown into each and every bottle, as a nod to Jalisco’s old coat of arms.
“It’s still a challenge to get people to just try our tequila,” admits Strait, who is far more than just a face for the marketing. He’s headed out on a 2020 tour, occasionally teaming up with Chris Stapleton and Little Big Town, to pack out huge stadiums, but he’s got his mind on moving bottles, too.
“There are so many tequilas there to choose from,” he says. “I say, ‘If it’s not your favorite, you haven’t tried it.’ My hope is for Código to be everyone’s go-to tequila.”
When Strait’s in the mood for it, you’d likely find him drinking the añejo on the rocks. “The Paloma is also a very tasty cocktail,” he says, admitting they now refer to that one as the Fede Special, for Federico Vaughan. It’s their favorite choice during an afternoon on the golf course.
We’ve got that very Paloma recipe, as well as a few more for you here, and we encourage you heartily to go pick up a bottle or two of Código 1530. Drinking pink tequila at a George Strait concert sounds like a fine summer activity to us.
2 oz. Código 1530 Blanco Tequila
1 oz. Triple Sec
1.5 oz. lime juice
.5 oz. agave nectar
Rim rocks glass with salt. Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and serve over ice. Garnish with a lime.
2 oz. Código 1530 Blanco tequila
2 oz. fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice
.5 oz. lime juice
2 oz. club soda
In a shaker filled with ice, add tequila, lime and grapefruit juice. Shake and strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Top with club soda. Garnish with a slice of grapefruit.
2.5 oz Código 1530 Añejo tequila
.75 oz. sweet vermouth
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass. Add ice and stir. Strain into a glass and garnish with an orange twist and cherry.
1 oz. Código 1530 Rosa tequila
.5 oz. Orange Curacao
.25 oz. lemon juice
.5 oz. watermelon syrup
2 oz. Red Bull Orange splash
In a shaker filled with ice, add tequila, Orange Curacao, lemon juice, and watermelon syrup. Shake and strain into a wine glass with fresh ice. Top with Red Bull Orange and add a pinch of salt.