DENVER, COLORADO — Denver buzz button liqueur Tingala was named a top liqueur in an important international spirits contest. The prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition (SFWSC) presented the spirit with a Bronze Medal in its Herbal/Botanicals Liqueurs category.
The 2019 competition was the largest in its history and featured almost 3,000 entries from around the world. The organization announced results earlier this year and has issued medallions to the winning products. Tingala joins other Colorado winners including A.D. Laws, Golden Moon, Marble Distilling, and Stranahan’s.
“We were excited to put our product in front of this panel of esteemed judges in a blind tasting and come out with a medal,” stated Tingala’s maker Bob Tews. “The win reflects the work of everyone in our family-based business.”
Tingala is an all-natural, gluten free spirit and the first in the U.S. handcrafted from fresh buzz buttons, flowers of the spilanthes (acmella alba) plant, native to Brazil. The edible yellow flower buds have a distinctive natural tingling taste. “They are an intense experience for the palate,” writes California reviewer Chris Tunstall . “The flowers take the palate on a “crazy journey that can last a few minutes. The (Tingala) liqueur does the same thing.”
One appealing aspect of the plant is its ability to gently increase salivation, which “opens the taste buds,” said Tews, enhancing enjoyment of other flavors. While the tingling flavor is the rock star when tasted straight, the spirit takes on a surprisingly sublime supporting role in cocktails.
On the surface, the liqueur’s flavor is “just pure fun. People love to sip it for the tingling taste, but it the product is designed to be much more. Because of its unique characteristics, it is a versatile and exotic addition to the bar.”
Tingala has notes of citrus and an allspice-like cinnamon bouquet. With less sweetness than a traditional liqueur, it can be mixed with any base spirit to modify cocktails, and it has the character to be served straight, on the rocks, or with a splash of water.
Being recognized in a world competition puts Tingala, with its Brazil-based flavor, in a category with other unique spirits made from surprising or international ingredients, such as San Francisco past winner Chareau, made from aloe vera juice, and 2019 San Francisco medalists Singani 63 brandy and white spirit Trakal, whose components respectively reflect the terroir of Bolivia and Patagonia.
“The flavors of more innovative spirits might be surprising and unexpected to some,” said Tews. “We appreciate the judges acknowledging Tingala’s delicious taste, as well as the thought and process that goes into trailblazing products like ours. We are thrilled that Tingala was recognized with a medal in 2019.”
The SFWSC was founded nearly 20 years ago and is one of the world’s most respected spirits competitions. An SFWSC medal indicates the highest caliber of quality and craftsmanship and is a universally recognized indicator of excellence. 2019 judges included David Wondrich, James Beard Award–winning author and longtime spirits writer for Esquire Magazine; food, wine, and spirits author and publisher Anthony Dias Blue; and Tony Abou-Ganim, a leading pioneer of America’s craft cocktail movement.