Cleo Rocos is famous for her appearances alongside Kenny Everett on ‘The Kenny Everett Television Show’, but the last few years have found Cleo venturing into a different area of expertise…creating her own brand of Tequila.
For those who might not know of your award-winning AquaRiva® Premium Tequila brand, please can you explain why you ventured into making a special brand of your own?
I created AquaRiva 100% Agave tequila in 2011. Most bars at the time were serving mixed tequila 51%agave tequila which is not the real deal. Mixed tequila is the reason most people think that they hate tequila as it makes you feel ill and gives you the worst hangover.
I do not drink mixed tequila ever and i could not find a high quality premium 100% agave tequila at an affordable price. So I decided to create my own high quality clean tequila which tastes wonderful, is low in methanol and leaves you feeling fabulous the next day.
Can you discuss the process of creating the varieties, which include AquaRiva® Blanco, AquaRiva® Reposado, AquaRiva® Handmade Reposado, and Organic Agave Syrup?
100% agave tequila is origin of appellation. It is the most strictly regulated spirit on the planet. Unlike mixed tequila which is only 51% agave and 49% industrial alcohol, additives, flavourings and colourings.
AquaRiva 100% agave tequila is made from Blue Weber eight year old agaves grown in the highlands of Jalisco , Mexico. and volcanic spring water.
AquaRiva Blanco is 38% ABV and is double distilled and rested before bottling. Most blanco’s are bottled immediately but I let mine sit for several weeks to ensure a smooth, no burn, high quality finish. I want people to enjoy the taste and flavour of AquaRiva. I put AquaRiva in an honest simple bottle which the bartenders chose as it is easy to work with. I spend the money on the liquid not the bottle.
AquaRiva Reposado 38% ABV is my Blanco aged for six months in American oak single cask Whisky barrels. The word reposado means rested.
AquaRiva Handmade Reposado is 40% ABV and is aged nine months in American oak single cask Whisky barrels. The agaves for the handmade reposado are hand selected for peak ripeness from the fields of eight year old agaves and these glorious agaves are used to make my Handmade reposado. The whole process takes much longer but the end result is worth it. The label is different from the other AquaRiva profiles as I ran out money and drew the label myself.
How does it feel to have had the wonderful positive appreciation of the drink, even winning awards for it?
Nothing gives me greater pleasure than seeing people enjoy AquaRiva tequila. I spent eleven months working with my master blender in Mexico to create a premium quality tequila that people actually love to drink. It has won many awards including Masters,Gold and even Best of The Best in the world’s biggest blind tequila judging in the USA. It beats all the big names in tequila tastings and I feel extremely proud and throbbingly happy about that.
Were there any challenges while putting the brand together? What have you learned from this incredible project?
Everything has been a challenge but my drive was from a pure passion for great tequila and to create a tequila for everyone. If you believe in something totally just go and do it. The only mistake you can make is not to trust your instincts. I went from bar to bar with my suitcase full of tequila getting one customer at a time. I literally walked holes in the soles of my shoes but it is a fantastic feeling when it all starts to take off. Where most people have complaints about their banks I was lucky enough to meet and work with an amazingly supportive team in HSBC and without their understanding and support of my business I could not have progressed.
The label of your tequila features a couple dancing on the wing of a plane…can you explain why this image? And how it came to be?
My label is of a young couple dancing on the wing of a plane. I met a seventeen year old art student on the tube and after seeing his fantastic work, commissioned him to do my label. the remit was “First day of Holiday” because that is how you feel when you drink AquaRiva tequila. All the edited highlights of yourself.
In your book, The Power of Positive Drinking, you provide tips and advice on how to enjoy a drink responsibly and without having a messy hangover afterwards. Do you think this is the reason readers found the book so entertaining to read, leading to its huge success?
I am thrilled at the success of the Power of Positive Drinking as it is now published in several languages too. I think that it is perhaps a combination of reasons. It is all about having the best time you can and with many tips and stories wrapped in laughter for people to enjoy. All about having a ravishing time and never drinking with dreary people.
What is your favourite tipple to have when relaxing and when having a night with friends? And why?
My favourite drink is of course AquaRiva. I didn’t spend all that time creating something that I don’t absolutely love. In fact I often carry a bottle of it in my handbag as I am always excited to introduce people to it. My favourite cocktail is an AquaRiva Margarita:
35ml AquaRiva tequila
15ml AquaRiva Organic Agave Syrup
25ml Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
Shake with lots of ice. Serve on the rocks. Twist of orange. No salt
Is there a first choice you would recommend to someone who is interested in trying out your AquaRiva® Tequila range?
First timers tend to try the Reposado 38% initially but most tequila drinkers stick to my Blanco as they enjoy its pure agave flavour and smooth balance.
When you aren’t busy showcasing your fabulous brand of Tequila, what sort of things do you like to do in your down time?
My work and down time are all the same. I have made my business very sociable and all my friends are a big part of the success of AquaRiva tequila.
If you were stuck on an island, what 5 things would you want, and why?
A full container (14,200 bottles) of AquaRiva Tequila, The same amount of AquaRiva Organic Agave Syrup, A Giant lime tree, Endless supply of ice and a Cocktail shaker. WHY : You never know when some body is going to by for a Margharita
To find out more, check out Cleo’s website: