When Emilia Fazzalari sat down for dinner one summer evening in 2016, she had no idea she was going to come away from the meal with the beginnings of a business venture.
Fazzalari, dining with her husband and lead governor of the Celtics Wyc Grousbeck, Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan, Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Wes Edens, and Los Angeles Lakers co-owner Jeanie Buss, thought she was in for a casual night with acquaintances while in New York City for the NBA owners meetings.
Little did she know Cincoro would be born.
A portmanteau combining the Spanish words for five and gold, Cincoro is a premium tequila company the group developed over their shared love for the spirit. The 2016 summer dinner would be the first of many for the competitors-turned-partners, as they collaborated to create four tequilas: blanco, reposado, añejo, and extra añejo.
“What we wanted was a tequila that was really super smooth and had a long finish,’’ Fazzalari said in a telephone interview. “To put it simply: We wanted a tequila that tasted great, that was just delicious. Can you imagine describing a tequila as delicious? You typically don’t, right? You associate tequila with a bit of a burn going down. We didn’t want that.’’
Something smooth and something delicious: that was the goal. After sitting down for more dinners, phoning in for countless conference calls, and testing more than 1,000 tequilas, the group settled on a taste profile — one that features blue agave harvested on private farms in Mexico.
Fazzalari couldn’t pick a favorite among Cincoro’s four tequilas, but she enjoys sipping all neat with a slice of orange. In addition to serving them with dinner, Fazzalari has discovered creative ways to use the spirit, from pouring the añejo over chocolate ice cream to substituting in the blanco for vodka in a penne alla vodka recipe.
“It’s something that you can experience as an occasion,’’ she said.
Cincoro launches this week in 12 markets, including Massachusetts, and nationwide distribution is scheduled for early 2020. Fazzalari expressed excitement surrounding the rollout, stressing that the product is a passion project, not a celebrity endorsement.
“This is about creating the world’s finest tequila,’’ she said.