Category Archives: Liqueurs

Cuervo Cinge (Cringe) Review

jose cuervo cringeI received a sample bottle of Cuervo Cinge just before the holidays.  The Cuervo marketing minions were hot to trot on this one and they wanted everyone’s reviews out before the holiday buying binge began.

I gave the bottle a day to rest from its travels and then tasted some.  I wasn’t expecting something that would knock my socks off.  After all, Cuervo Cinge begins with a mixto.  So I wasn’t expecting anything in the class of Peligroso Cinnamon or any of the other 100% agave flavored or infused spirits.  I thought it might still have something worth writing about considering all the money Jose Cuervo was reputed to have spent on marketing this little cinnamon roll – TEN MILLION DOLLARS.

According to Shanken News Daily: “The launch of Cinge will be supported with a $10 million media spend, which will initially launch via social media platforms, followed by a national campaign, as well as on- and off-premise promotions.”

cuervo cingeCuervo Cringe

Hopeful but without great expectations, I took a sip.


That’s how I felt.  Violated and dirty.

So I set the bottle aside hoping maybe it would improve in time.

Then I took a shower and washed my mouth out with soap.

The next day, the marketing minions were asking me when, when, when the review would be out.

Finally, with great sadness, I had to inform the poor minion that he did NOT want me to release my review on Tequila Aficionado before people did their holiday shopping.  He appreciated my honesty and thanked me for not posting the review.

cuervo cingeObviously, it has taken me a while to write this review.  I’ve put it off long enough and now is the moment of reckoning.  I’m tasting it again, in hopes that some mighty magic has changed it completely as it sat in the bottle these many weeks.

I’ve given it every opportunity to shine.  I aerated it with a Vinturi Spirit Aerator into a Reidel tequila glass and took a thoughtful sip.

I’m afraid I have no good news for you.  It tastes like somebody crushed a box of Red Hots into a bottle of cinnamon mouthwash and added a bottle of corn syrup.  This is not tequila, my friends.  Cuervo Cinge is a way of violating America’s youth en mass.

I found myself rushing through the kitchen, wondering “What, what, what can scour my palate so I don’t have to continue tasting this heavy, syrupy, sickly-sweet, sludge?”  There was nothing.

Yesterday a review was posted on the Popsugar website and I could hold my tongue no longer.

Brave shot takers surprised themselves by how sweet, smooth, and sippable the cinnamon-y Cinge tastes — even at room temperature and without any chaser! Many considered it better tasting than Fireball Whisky, and even non-tequila-drinkers happily knocked back a shot, even two. 

I have a very simple response to this review:


Fireball Whiskey?  Who drinks that?  How old are these reviewers?  I’m sure 16-year-olds think it’s rockin’, but is that the intended target market?

Drink Spirits says:

I say: Bless you, Geoff Kleinman, for writing this professional review rather than being distracted, like I was, with how to remove the awful taste from my person!

In parting, right before I go wash my mouth out with soap and take a scalding hot shower a la The Crying Game, I feel it is my responsibility to tell you this:

Do not buy this product.  Do not let your friends buy this product.  Don’t even look at this product.  Just run away!


Never miss and article or review again – Subscribe now!

* indicates required

Email Format

View previous newsletters.

Ken Austin and Avion Knock it Out of the Park with Avion Espresso

avion espresso tequila coffee liqueurThe Package

The packaging was promising.  The bottle is a deep, earthy brown-black like those cups of coffee I enjoy every morning.  The lettering was white with gold trim, just enough bling to show they’d taken some pride in this product.

The Open

Alex’s Inspector Clouseau voice kept coming to mind as I broke the seal.  I removed it carefully with that “child at Christmas” sort of anticipation where you don’t dare ask yourself “Will it be what I’ve always wanted?”

You see, my tagline for decades has been, “In my world, coffee and tequila are food groups.”  (In fact, you may just see that meme floating around cyberspace thanks to Mike Morales.)

I’ve been all over the world and tasted every coffee there is.  I know the difference between Robusto and Arabica beans and I’ll be happy to go on at length about how important the grind of a coffee is.  I’ll also slap anyone who dares to present me with a cup of coffee that was blended with chicory.  I don’t drink that frou-frou double-moo-cow-chunk-chunk stuff, either.  Don’t make me go off like Denis Leary about that.

So, you see, I take my coffee very seriously.

avion espresso ken austin lisa pietsch tequila aficionado

The Nose

A spellbinding effect began when I opened the bottle.  The first whiff delivered deep, rich, earthy espresso.  Not coffee–E S P R E S S O.  I’m talking about perfectly roasted beans ground into a fine powder and forced by hot steam to give up their deepest essence.

2013-05-01 20.47.13Though the bottle arrived attended by eight lovely shot glasses emblazoned with the Avion logo, I poured this into a champagne flute to let it breathe.  (The anticipation nearly had me doing the Guinness dance.)

Finally, I could wait no more.

I swirled it in the crystal glass and it’s dark legs made me giddy.

I smelled it to my right, then to my left, and then head on.

The tequila and the espresso were equally matched.  No one overpowered the other.  They both stood strong and full together, but there was something more.  There was just a hint of honey on the nose and the combination of the three was delightfully intriguing.  Just smelling it made my mouth water.

It was like Christmas!  “Do I drink…do I wait…?”

The nose was phenomenal and I didn’t want to break that spell if the flavor didn’t deliver on the promise.

avion espressoLove at First Taste

I finally closed my eyes and took a sip.

The quality of the ingredients and the mix of flavors was exquisite.  It tickled my lips and sparkled on my tongue.  Yes, sparkled.  The Italian espresso was there in full force but the Avion Silver tequila was not letting it steal the show.

The things it did in my mouth!

I’ve had other coffee flavored liqueurs.  I had high hopes for Patron’s XO Café but it was nasty straight and completely ruined my coffee when mixed.  Avion Espresso has taken coffee liqueur from Maxwell House instant straight to the cafés of Europe holding hands with the blue agave fields of Jalisco.

Avion Espresso is THE liqueur for coffee lovers and a spectacular treasure for those of us who love both coffee and tequila.

The Finish

avion tequila ken austinKen Austin, Founder and Chairman, commented on Avion’s addition of a liqueur to its line.

“At first I didn’t want to do it as a tequila purist.  After many months of work at the distillery I was very happy with the results and we released it. It is doing so well along with our 100% Agave products and I can’t thank enough the many people who are supporting our brand and company!”

This attention to detail and high standard of quality is what makes Avion Espresso the new bar for any brand considering making a coffee liqueur.  Honestly, I can’t imagine how it could possibly be done better.

brand of promise avion espresso nominee award tequila aficionadoAvion Espresso is for those who are passionate about coffee.  This isn’t coffee “flavor”.  This is scintillating silver tequila and dark, rich, espresso.  This is the perfect mix of the night before and the morning after, the nightcap you drink as you watch the sunrise together.  This is early morning sex before sleeping all day!

coffee, chocolateRun, don’t walk, to the liquor store for it, or click on this link and order it now.

Avion Espresso is, without a doubt, on the short list for Tequila Aficionado’s 2013 Brands of Promise Awards.

P.S. Dear Ken…If you could work this magic with a chocolate tequila liqueur, I will love you forever.

Never miss and article or review again – Subscribe now!

* indicates required

Email Format

View previous newsletters.