Those that got a chance to attend the J. Hernandez and Sons (named for the brand’s father-son distiller duo of Jesus Hernandez and Jesus Hernandez Jr.) Pop-Up Bodega in Brooklyn this week were gifted with a great night of food, drink, and music. Part of a continued series that started in April, the pop-up bodega series has been going to several major cities across the country, providing people with the irresistible taste of Altos Tequila, one of Mexico’s premiere liquors. Opening for two nights in six different cities, the brand has appeared in Los Angeles, Denver, Austin, and Nashville before coming to New York, right before making its final stop in Chicago. With these events, Altos Tequila is ardently trying to communicate a strong honor for community.
Stepping into this week’s bodega (which was held in the evening on June 11 and 12th), participants were immediately greeted with a very welcoming atmosphere. There were a number of open bars surrounding the space, as well as decks where people could have some pizza and tacos, and even receive free customized hats.
“The bodega series just feels right for the brand,” explains Dre Massad, the Englishman who launched Altos Tequila in Europe back in 2009. “It’s very relaxed and personal, and it’s about the quality experience. More networking can be done here, than had we just thrown a big party.”
This ideology came out throughout the night, as everyone involved had an immensely social vibe. Those fortunate to attend the early VIP session were gifted with a brief cocktail-making course taught by Massad himself, where he showed people the delicate (yet accessible) balance for making a sugary-yet-spicy Alto Tequila mix, as well as an even more refined champagne margarita. All involved in the course turned out great drinks, with one participant even saying that her beverage tasted like it was authentically from Mexico. “We brought the brand to America and it caught on rather quickly,” says Massad, explaining that they needed to branch out as there were problematic factors with cost in the UK. “There was a gap in the market in England for tequila ten years ago. $20 for a tequila cocktail was just too much for most people.”
Still, even those that missed this delectable hour still found much to enjoy throughout the night, and perhaps the biggest highlight was a performance from Action Bronson. The popular rapper/chef took the stage alongside frequent collaborator Alchemist, although he quickly abandoned it to take the floor. Bronson asked audience members to surround him, as he recited some of his best-known songs, all while a giant mug-cocktail was passed around. While Bonson’s profane raps were starkly different from the clean dance/salsa music that played for most of the night, he brought a great amount of energy with him, and the Queens-native definitely struck a chord with the New York crowd.
Bronson had become involved with the J. Hernandez and Sons Pop-Up Bodega after a New York-based employee for Altos Tequila suggested to Massad that they reach out to him. Bronson found himself really liking the concept, being no stranger to hosting pop-up food events himself (most recently he held a very successful pop-up at a New York restaurant for his documentary series Fuck, That’s Delicious). “I’m a community guy myself. I’d always hang out and fuck around. Eating and drinking in front of stores,” he explains. “I represent self-ownership before the OCS.”
Bronson, much like the J. Hernandez and Sons Pop-Up Bodega itself, represents a lost era of New York. A time before gentrification ran rampant, and store owners could have healthy businesses without having to worry too much about not being able to afford to renew the lease. Altos Tequila truly has launched a campaign that speaks to the sense of fun and social-interaction that any good drink should do, and here’s hoping it continues and only expands in it mission. Without saying, all parties involved would like to see that exactly happen.
For more information on Altos Tequila, please click here.
For more information on Action Bronson, please click here.