Inaki Orozco: An Interview with NYC's very own Riazul tequila "Captain"

Although recent studies show drinking tequila may lower your blood sugars, drinking it in the company of Inaki Orozco may raise your body temperature: and yes, he is single! The debonair tequila mogul and founder of Riazul Tequila moved to New York City about three years ago, and quickly made a name for himself as the new “Captain” of New York.  I caught up with Inaki Orozco, to see how this entrepreneur makes it all happen and ask the questions “Bellas” really want to know. Sitting at Mole Restaurant and bar, here is what Inaki had to say: when I put him on the spot about women, tequila and future plans…

 

We are sitting at this beautiful restaurant called Mole in Meatpacking, what drink do you suggest? And, did you see the adorable dog outside?

The dog is the Manager’s. But Boston, c’mon (laughs)… a Riazul Cocktail of course. You must try the Paloma made with Riazul Plata, grapefruit juice, a splash of soda and and a slight lime twist. The juice of the lime sprays, when you twist it: giving a citrus essence. It is simple and refreshing…making it great all year round.

Well, what girl doesn’t love an all year round cocktail? (Scarlette Sips) Wow this is amazing! So what exactly does the name “Riazul” mean?

Riazul loosely means “Blue River”. At my family’s property in Mexico, where we grow the agaves used to make our tequila, there is a blue stream of water that runs in the middle of the four parcels of land. It is a symbol of unity.

I am sure Riazul has united many people over the past years. Love the name! You are definitely making a name for yourself as the new “Captain” of New York. But, you have traveled a long way from home, do you miss Mexico? Your family? And what do you miss about it?

I have been in the US about ten years, and more recently moved here about three years ago. I definitely miss Mexico.  I miss the people that are close to me, family and special gatherings. Definitely miss the culture. I don’t know how exactly to explain it… but I feel something that I miss and enjoy when I return to visit.

Riazul is such sophisticated tequila: and you definitely brought luxury and a piece of that culture to New York. But a “Bella” girl just has to know… with Riazul recipes gracing so many popular NYC cocktail menus, what is the best way to sip it? And do you prefer a sweet, salty or spicy rim?

Without a doubt, I like a spicy rim…as it accentuates the flavors. My favorite cocktail is a hard one, because there are so many good ones made with Riazul. But I would have to stick with the Paloma we’re drinking. It really is simple,it brings out the natural charachteristics of our tequila: it’s very refreshing and perfect all year round.  And it’s low calorie!

I love that the Paloma is low calorie: and I think Bella Readers will too.  It is quite a sexy drink with the mint garnish and lime zest, and we can all use a little more sexy in our life or cocktail. But we also love being healthy. Recently, tequila made headlines as being a healthier alternative bar drink. Can you share your thoughts on this?

Of course. Tequila ranks low on the glycemic index. Meaning, that we don’t need the assistance of insulin to digest. When using agave nectar to balance sweetness, it’s definitely a smart choice at the bar, and particularly for people with diabetes. We therefore have a balanced liquor, which is not too sweet.

After a long day at work, I love chasing tequila, especially Riazul tequila (wink). What do you like to chase when you hang up your “Captain’s” hat?

I love to chase a good time, great people, great food and parties. I love sharing in the moment and chasing special moments…that’s what makes me happy.

Lately, Riazul has had some significant moments… you changed distributors and the cap design on your bottle. Why is that?

We felt that our current distributor is just better suited for a tequila company. The square cap design we had was awkward. The new cap is easier to twist off. But we have kept the curvature design of the bottle…which represents flowing freely like the “blue stream”.

So Inaki, Do you prefer your woman similar to the new design… easy? Or do you like a challenge?

I definitely like courtship. It’s in my blood. I like a challenge and a woman who is multi-layered, not with clothes though (wink).

You often say that Riazul’s Resposado, Anejo and Plato (Silver), are like your spoiled children. So we are curious, how do you plan on spoiling them next?

I’m giving them a close cousin in a Mezcal. There will be two expressions of Mezcal, under the label Riazuleno. It will either spoil them more or make them jealous (he laughs).

You have definitely influenced New Yorkers with luxury tequila so smoothe, you can sip it straight. And I must say… I have been spoiled myself! I can’t imagine drinking another tequila after this Riazul Paloma…not even 1942 (laugh). But I am dying to know… how has New York City influenced your palette? What neighborhood do you like best? And dare we ask: what is your favorite restaurant, which is not Mexican?

I’m a foodie, so it’s hard to have a favorite. It depends on the mood I’m in. But I would say French. It is lean and balanced in flavor, like my Riazul. I particularly love to eat at Le Bilbouquet. They have great seafood. I love being in Soho and the West Village…the vibe is just right.

When you’re not busy being Inaki Orozco the tequila mogul…How do you unwind?

I love playing tennis. I work out and love to walk around art galleries. The city offers so many ways to unwind. Tennis is the best way for me to relieve physical tension. The art galleries offer mental relaxation. Both are important. But tennis is my favorite.

Everyone has a “tequila story”… What is Inaki Orozco’s?

Everyone has that tequila story where they take their clothes off, and I might too: but it is so cliché. I’d rather share one, when I got dirty using my hands to make Riazul. The agave plant takes seven years to harvest, and some start to naturally ferment, so we had to take them out: but we couldn’t find a crew to help. I was desperate and approached some locals. They said if I gave them three things: beer, tequila and cigarettes…they would do it. So we all harvested the plants together,  then started  fire to burn down the remains. This replenishes the soil. But, the fire started to flow freely and was hard to contain. It was out of control and I was so scared…I thought we were going to burn down the entire property. At the end, it all worked out: and I was so relieved, for many reasons we did not (laughs).

 

No matter what tequila story Inaki Orozco is willing to share, he is without a doubt a huge success. Inaki, is always making moves in business: and for an entrepreneur is so personable. As I followed him to a couple city establishments… it was clear that both Inaki and Riazul are loved by many New Yorkers: I am sure NYC’s “Bellas” will follow suit. You can find a list of locations to chase Riazul in New York City at Riazul.com. I would love to know which Riazul cocktail is your favorite…tweet me @BostonScarlette!

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