Tequila is bad for bats, it turns out. Our nocturnal echolocationary pals love the blossoms of the blue agave plant, but liquor makers prefer to harvest agave before it blooms—and booming demand for high-end tequila and mezcal have turned every plant into a prize.
But thanks to the efforts of biologist Rodrigo Medellín—who says bat pollination increases biodiversity and helps strengthen local ecosystems—some agave farms are experimenting with letting 5 percent of their plants flower in an effort to lure back the bats. In exchange, they get a holographic seal of approval and a new marketing strategy.
So how does it taste? Tequila Tapatío's new bat-friendly Tequila Ocho is pricey—I found a bottle for $70 at one of D.C.'s more eclectic liquor stores—but light and grassy, with a mild flavor. The limpid quality of the spirit matches the ostentatious clarity of the conscience of its drinkers. There's a faint aftertaste of smugness, no doubt due to the corporate social responsibility in the manufacturing process, but that doesn't overwhelm the delicious luxury of drinking bat-friendly margaritas in a world rich enough to care about such things.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Tequila Ocho".