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High spirits: The 1800 Milenio tequila launch in Ladakh

Updated: Oct 16, 2021

Semskit, the three-day Masque pop-up starting today at the Stok Palace in Ladakh, will also see the launch of the exclusive 1800 Milenio tequila in India.

Chef Prateek Sadhu has hit the road with a series of pop-ups to celebrate five years of Masque, his Mumbai restaurant. Today, Semskit, meaning ‘soul-stirring’, his three-day Ladakh pop-up opens at the Stok Palace. What makes the pop-up extra special is that it will also witness the launch of the 1800 Milenio Tequila, a luxury spirit, in India.

The 1800 Milenio Tequila is being exclusively imported and sold only at the pop-up for the first time in India by Monika Enterprise and the price is on request. The premium tequila is aged for nearly four years, yielding flavours of lightly toasted oak, vanilla, caramel and red fruits with an intense note of cinnamon. Apart from 1800 Milenio, a range of 1800 variants will be opened at the pop-up for guests, used in the cocktails and the food menu along with a mix of flavours using the local produce of Ladakh.

Over the course of three days, Chef Prateek Sadhu, Executive Chef and co-owner of Masque, will be curating a lunch menu exploring Ladakhi cuisine, served al fresco, for visiting guests and locals alike, in an unforgettable setting — the 200-year-old Stok Palace, where the Namgyal dynasty still resides. The four-storey structure offers breathtaking views of the Indus Valley, houses the royal museum and six heritage rooms comfortably adapted to accommodate guests. Raja Jigmed Wangchuk Namgyal, and his son Prince Stanzin Namgyal, are keen to see local culture and sustainability become the essence of tourism in Ladakh, with community social responsibility and conscious travel that benefits the local economy at the fore.

It’s a worthy setting for the launch of a spirit as rare as the 1800 Milenio. To honour the tequila, Masque’s talented in-house bartender will whip out delectable spirits using 1800 Milenio tequila as the central element.

Kunal Patel, Managing Partner of Monika Enterprises, which is importing the tequila into India, said, “I’m absolutely ecstatic to be launching 1800 Milenio tequila in India for the first time in association with team Masque. Unique collaborations like these are the future and make me believe even more that tequila is set to be the next big trend in India. The white and brown spirit market has been steadily growing over the last few years, and one can only speculate on how influential the Indian market will be in the coming years, where the exclusivity of premium liquors is finding the right platforms with the growing demand for niche experiences like this pop-up in Ladakh.”

First conceived in the year 2000 to celebrate the new millennium, 1800 Milenio comes from a family that has been making tequila for 250 years and 11 generations. It all begins with 100% Blue Weber Agave, picked at the peak of ripeness and carefully steamed in traditional masonry ovens for 36 hours, yielding a flavourful nectar. Then it’s slowly double-distilled in copper-pot stills. After prolonged ageing in new American oak barrels, for approximately 40 months, the very best tequila of the batch is further refined in French oak ex-cognac barrels for an additional four months, which imparts a unique character and complexity to the spirit. The resulting liquid is dark amber in colour with bright copper intensity.

The tequila is named after the year 1800, when, according to the producers, the world’s first premium tequila was born. They claim that for over two hundred years, 1800 has never wavered from its original formula and distillation process—producing a 100% agave, quality liquid every time. According to them “the bottles that end up on the shelves contain the same quality tequila as every bottle that has left the distillery for centuries.” The bottle itself is a unique trapezoidal shape, reminiscent of the centuries-old Mayan pyramids found throughout Mexico, and dressed with a crest.

Masque will be serving up inventive new cocktails at the pop-up using the 1800 tequila, and inspired by the terroir, foraged produce and heritage of Ladakh. We can’t help but raise a toast to that.

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