Home #Hwoodtimes A visit to Guadalajara and the El Cristiano distillery: Three days in...

A visit to Guadalajara and the El Cristiano distillery: Three days in the land of the world’s finest sipping tequila

Welcome to #ThirdFlight, where El Cristiano’s annual pilgrimage to the birthplace of Tequila unfolds across three historic cities in one thrilling weekend. Join me for three days immersed in the realm of the World’s Most Delicious Tequila

By: Valerie Milano

AC Marriott Hotel w/ El Cristiano Passenger luxury Vans

Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico (The Hollywood Times) 5/3/24 – If there’s no rest for the wicked, then I must be in the company of the truly wicked! Just days after disembarking from a much-needed cruise along the Mexican coast, I found myself whisked away to Guadalajara for a whirlwind tour of the El Cristiano tequila production facilities.


Karan and Priyanka Khanna, founders of El Cristiano

Prompted by my friend and PR maestro, Ali Lasky of The Influence, the agency who represents El Cristiano Tequila, I boarded a mid-morning flight from LAX to Guadalajara. After a four-hour journey and a warm reception from Priyanka and Karan Khanna, the founders, and Chris Shaffer, the genius behind El Cristiano’s delectable essence, my adventure commenced with an enlightening exploration of this remarkable tequila.

Conceived by a close-knit circle of aficionados sharing a fervor for tequila and their beloved Mexico, El Cristiano has leveraged over four decades of expertise within the “familia el cristiano” to craft what many deem the world’s most delicious and additive-free tequila. El Cristiano is meticulously crafted from the finest Jalisco Highlands blue agave cactus (Los Altos de Jalisco).

Priyanka Khanna greeted us at the airport with – what else> – tequila!

During our visit, I had the privilege of mingling and savoring tequila with these extraordinary individuals, starting right at the airport upon our arrival. As we checked our luggage in and received our boarding passes at the Bradley Terminal of LAX, we were treated to shots of El Cristiano, graciously served by the delightful Priyanka Khanna. Each of us received a considerate lunch bag for the flight, featuring treats from the local LA staple, Carrera Café, and delectable Navarro’s truffle popcorn. This initiation into the weekend’s festivities continued at the Welcome Reception at our hotel and persisted throughout the weekend!

Casa Aceves shot glass, cap & neck fan

Upon reaching our hotel, we were presented with a swag bag containing a very handy personal air conditioner to wear around our necks and our very own “sipper cup” for tequila sampling. I adorned my cup on my Bandolier, as instructed, ensuring our lips didn’t touch every bottle.

After settling into my room at the AC Marriott in Guadalajara, we proceeded to the Welcome Reception next door at City Express. Tequila flowed freely as we mingled with guests, including liquor distributors, sales professionals, and fellow media colleagues. However, the pièce de resistance was yet to come.

(Photo: David Christopher Lee)

“Tonight, we are thrilled to unveil to you our latest creation: the eight-year Extra Anejo, aged in the ground for six years, then aged in the barrel for another eight, priced at $800 each in stores. Let’s hear it for OCHO,” said owner Karan Khanna, introducing the upcoming global launch of their latest masterpiece.

“El Cristiano Tequila isn’t just a drink; it’s a testament to tradition, crafted with passion and purity,” said Karan Khanna. “Every sip embodies the rich heritage and artisanal expertise passed down through generations. It’s the fusion of time-honored techniques and the finest agave, resulting in a flavor that dances on the palate and leaves a lasting impression.

“Our tequila isn’t just delicious; it’s a celebration of Mexico, distilled into every drop.” stated Karan Khanna

We were transported by bus to the agave fields, distillery and orphanage (I’m the smiley blonde on the right!)

On Saturday morning, following breakfast at the hotel, we embarked on a two-hour journey to the distillery for a captivating tour. We learned about the intricacies of tequila production, starting with the Blue Weber Agave, and the significance of the Denomination of Origin of Tequila, stipulating its origin in the Tequila region as defined by the Mexican government.

Casa Sauza Restaurant

After a spirited toast with El Cristiano, we indulged in an outdoor garden brunch before visiting another of the founders’ passions—the orphanage supported by El Cristiano’s charitable outreach, Fundación El Cristiano. This foundation endeavors to make a positive impact on the lives of the people and communities that make their tequila possible.


Casa Hogar Portal de Belen Del Nino Jesus orphanage

The Fundación focuses on aiding the children of Arandas and the Jalisco Highlands, with the Casa Hogar Portal de Belen Del Nino Jesus orphanage being one of their primary beneficiaries. El Cristiano not only provides financial support for the orphanage’s daily operations but also facilitates essential upgrades for the children, including school supplies, pantry items, shoes, and even 50 laptops for the local school in Arandas.

“I was inspired by a quote from Robert Byrne: ‘The purpose of life is a life with purpose’, hence making purpose such an integral part of the creation of El Cristiano Tequila,” said founder Karan Khanna.

(Photo: David Christopher Lee)

During our visit, the orphanage received a $12,000 donation from El Cristiano, accompanied by personalized pillows and gift bags for each child. Thanks to El Cristiano’s assistance, the orphanage has expanded its capacity from 23 children two years ago to 38 children today.

A trip to Arandas afforded us a stroll through the city’s downtown, culminating in a visit to Latin America’s largest church bell, before we ventured to the Tepatitlan agave field—a sprawling expanse adorned with blue agave plants as far as the eye could see. We then returned to our hotel for dinner at a restaurant adjacent to the premises.

Sunday, our final day in Mexico, commenced with breakfast before we bid farewell to our hotel and journeyed to “Tequila Town,” a 90-minute jaunt from Guadalajara and the home of Don Cenobia Sauza, affectionately known as “the father of tequila”. Here, we were guests at yet another reception, where, unsurprisingly, tequila flowed liberally once more!

Finally, our bleary-eyed and slightly hungover group was chauffeured to the airport for our evening flight back to LAX, marking the end of a weekend filled with adventure in the Land of the Agave. The tequila was undoubtedly exquisite, but it was the people I encountered that truly made the journey unforgettable.

On Monday, I received a heartfelt note from Karan Khanna, El Cristiano’s Founder & President:

“Happy Monday everyone!! Nitin, Laura, Priyanka, and I are sincerely grateful and appreciative that all of you took the time out of your busy lives to join us this weekend, learn about El Cristiano, and discover what makes it the world’s most delicious tequila,” the note began. “Combine that with the rich Mexican culture, delectable cuisine, and warm hospitality, and we had an extraordinary weekend. Thank you!”

No, Karan, Priyanka, Nitin, and Laura… Thank YOU for an adventure of a lifetime!

Milano and Karan

You can find out more about El Cristiano tequila at http://www.https://www.el-cristiano.com/