It’s a rainy weeknight in New York City, and Nick Jonas is in the penthouse of a SoHo hotel tasting tequila with his good friend John Varvatos — their tequila. Eighteen months prior, the boy band dreamboat and the renowned designer were somewhere warm and bright, and their booze brand Villa One was only a dream.
But on August 28, it became a reality when Villa One, a new tequila co-founded by the pair in partnership with Stoli, was announced to the world. The two hosted an intimate gathering in New York just one night before Jonas would take the stage at Madison Square Garden.
After collaborating on men’s fragrance and fashion line JV x NJ, Varvatos and Jonas wanted to work together again. After mulling over their options — a music festival? a movie? a “Scream Queens” revival? — they settled on tequila. In 2018, they set off to visit a distillery in Jalisco, Mexico, but made a pit stop in Los Cabos on the way. Their group, 10 in total, shared a stunning $18,000-per-night villa, and, as all good origin stories go, they were drinking tequila.
Back in rainy New York 18 months later, Jonas was sharing the libation’s origin story, and how that pit stop played a major role in the tequila’s branding.
“This is life as it should be,” Jonas recalled he said to his friends and family who had joined him in paradise that night. That phrase would eventually become the brand’s tagline. Life as it should be. When the tequila came to life, it took its name from the property its creators stayed in that night. And the taste, well, the taste is as close as anyone could get to bottling the indescribable feeling of being with people that you love.
Currently, Villa One comes in three expressions: silver ($44.99), reposado ($49.99) and añejo ($59.99). At the unveiling of the brand, The Daily Meal was able to sample them all and — coming from someone whose tolerance for liquor has plummeted since college — they’re great. No, really great. You don’t get that all-too-familiar aggressive alcohol scent on the nose or even in the taste. The silver is soft and pillowy. It has no bite, and it’s practically undetectable in a margarita. You can taste the oak barrel on the reposado (butterscotch, coffee, spice and leather) and the añejo (caramel, vanilla, banana, dark chocolate and honey).
It’s incredible. It’s drinkable. It’s perfectly fine neat and on the rocks, and it makes a fabulous cocktail. It’s not good just because it’s Nick Jonas’ tequila. While we love him and definitely still have Jonas Brothers posters on our walls that we ripped out of Tiger Beat magazine (kidding, maybe), it’s more than that. You can tell right away that there was a lot of love put into making this tequila. You can taste it.
The craftsmanship is comparable to a fine wine or cognac, Jonas said. And because he is Type 1 diabetic, tequila is one of the only adult beverages he can enjoy in good health. His favorite is the reposado on ice with an orange wedge and club soda.
“I’ve also done the añejo on the rocks with a little chocolate bitters and an orange peel, and that’s really nice,” he said, hesitantly adding that, even though it’s technically a tasting tequila, it goes down fine as a shot, too.
In fact, before the Jonas Brothers performed “Sucker” and “Only Human” at the VMAs, Jonas said he and his brothers, Kevin and Joe, were all taking shots of the añejo in the back of a car to settle their nerves. No, Mr. Priyanka Chopra does not use lime or salt.
“It’s so smooth you don’t need it. That was something to hide what you were gagging on at the time,” Varvatos added, bringing everyone in the room back to regretful nights fueled by cheap bottom-shelf liquor. Sure enough, this team was always dead set on top-notch quality.
Varvatos and Jonas had a huge hand in bottle design and sampling to get the product just right, but it was master distiller Arturo Fuentes who physically brought the spirit to life at the Stoli Group-owned Fabrica de Tequilas Finos distillery. A veteran of more than 30 years in the industry, the “godfather of tequila” uses sustainably sourced, 5-to-7-year-old blue Weber agave from the highlands and lowlands of Jalisco, Mexico (the literal birthplace of tequila). Most makers source from either the highlands or the lowlands, but cultivating crops from both gives Villa One its one-of-a-kind flavor profile.
Villa One will roll out to cities in tandem with the Jonas Brothers’ Happiness Begins Tour, starting with New York on August 29. A custom bar was made for each venue, where there will be a VIP Villa One lounge that — even though OG JoBros fans are now well of-age — will be available to friends and family of the band and brand only.
It won’t be long until you’re able to get it elsewhere, though. According to a Stoli Group spokesperson, Villa One is coming to a liquor store near you starting in September. But don’t expect flashy bottles on store shelves. The design is quite humble because in the end, people will come back for the taste, not the look. The juice speaks for itself.
“God is in the details,” Varvatos said. “It’s the little things that change the game. You don’t need to scream and yell about it if it’s really good. It’s going to have its own voice, and I think that’s how we look at everything we work on.” On that note, this point was certainly made already, but we love Villa One and we hope that if you try it, you like it too. Now that you know what these guys are throwing back after hours, here’s more on what the world’s most famous people drink every night.