Bertha González Nieves, CEO, Casa Dragones Tequila


"Because I grew up in Mexico, I have a very strong bond with [the country]. I learned about all the Mexican industries while in university, and I was invited to Tequila Jalisco to learn about their process. After being there for two days I called my parents and said, ‘I know what I want to do. I want to go into the tequila industry.’ Tequila has an appellation of origin, just like champagne or cognac. You can only harvest agave azul—the only type of agave you can use for tequila production—in Mexico. I was captivated by the role tequila plays in the social fabric of Mexico—how we celebrate marriages or graduations or birthdays, how we cry when we break up a relationship, how we get a reward. It’s a big part of our lives. With Casa Dragones, we spent a lot of time convincing people they could actually sip and savor—we wanted to produce a true sipping tequila that paired well with food.

The Mexican palate is very educated on tequila—as the French are with French wine, or the English with English whiskey—so we wanted this to be a tequila that Mexico is behind, and prove that tequila has all the credentials to compete with other very stylish categories like cognacs and single malts. Before starting Casa Dragones, I worked with the Beckmann family for 10 years—they were the first to get a permit from the king of Spain to distill vino mezcal into tequila. There are a lot of big producers that are doing tequila like it was done 250 years ago. We wanted to expand the repertoire with modern and sustainable processes—tackling reusable energy, recycling water, and other things we believe are important. We’re a small-batch producer, so we can put full attention to a small production. It’s like doing a dinner for 12 versus a party for 200—you make different decisions, right?

Our tequila is the Joven style of tequila, which means it’s a blend of two styles—a Blanco tequila and a five-year-old extra-aged tequila. You’re going to get the floral and citrus notes of the Blanco tequila balanced with the sweetness and the spice of the extra-aged tequila, with a long, warm finish that has a very beautiful lingering permanence. At the end of the process we take the color out—we learned that we got more permission for fine dining pairings that way. There was an exhibit of the history of glass in the Museo Popular in Mexico City, and the inspiration for the bottle came from one particular decanter that was there. We really wanted to showcase Mexican craftsmanship, like in everything we do.

When I wake up, I cleanse with water. But I do take care of myself at night. I use L’Oréal wipes to take my makeup off, and then I like to use this Gentle Foaming Cleanser from Clarins. Then I put on my night cream, and the night cream varies all the time. Right now I’m using this Clarins Multi Active Cream, but I also have one from Valmont. I also like to use the face oil from Clarins—I like night oils. Someone gave me a whole Kiehl’s set for the holidays, and I like that Midnight Recovery Oil. It’s very light. And then I love spicy food, but my under eyes get so inflamed. My mom looked at me one day and was like, ‘You need this,’ and gave me these Crystal Collagen Gold Powder Eye Masks. Well, they work.

I’m on a plane every week, so I’m constantly dehydrated. I try to do a steam once a week, and I feel like it really brings my skin back to life. The spa at Soho House, Cowshed, has a very good steam. I’m a member, so I can just go, get the steam, and leave. I also like to get this incredible oxygen facial from Dr. Kolker. That’s something that always brings me back to square one.

I spend a lot of time in San Miguel de Allende, and I love the spa at Dos Casas, which is a small boutique hotel. I only mask when I go to a spa, but I use this La Prairie Firming Complex as a treat. I bring it when I travel, and at night I use just a little bit. On airplanes, I have the Eye and Lip from La Prairie in my bag at all times—this is magic. I also keep the Clarins oil in water in my bag. It’s not too oily, and you can really feel how it absorbs. Clarins is always sold at airports, so that’s why I buy it—it’s when I have time to shop.

Bobbi Brown bought the penthouse in this building, and we met in the elevator. She really champions female entrepreneurs, so we became friends. She gave me so much great advice as a mentor, and also shared a lot of her products with me. I love what she makes—it’s very natural and very matte. I like to use a little bit of her bronzer on my forehead and cheekbones, and I use the Warm Glow Eye Palette [Ed. note: discontinued] for everyday—I like this very tan color. It looks very natural, but I think it just lifts up the color in my face. Then I use Lancôme Camouflage Concealer in Bisque just to cover underneath my eyes. For some more color, I mix Chanel Soleil Tan with a little Clarins Blue Orchid face oil all over, so it’s not that heavy. Then I use Nars pressed powder in Medium 1—just a little. Because I have a lot of eyebrows, I brush my eyebrows with this eyebrow brush from Make Up For Ever. My grandmother said to me, ‘Don’t ever do your eyebrows, you’re going to regret it.’ She placed this fear onto me, and even now when I clean them up I’m like, ‘Just a little bit!’

For lashes, I use this eyelash curler from Tweezerman, but I don’t use mascara every day. When I do, I love Diorshow in Black. If I’m going out, I like this black eyeliner in particular, Chanel Precision Eye Definer, on the outside corners. I like to finish it up by smudging it with a dark gray Bobbi Brown eyeshadow to make it a little dirty. As for lipstick, I use MAC Spice and Chanel lip gloss in 728. I like that it has a little shine, and almost no color—it’s super sheer. Or I like the Mint Lip Treatment from Khus+Khus.

If I have a hangover, the best thing for me is to exercise. If I can’t exercise, then there’s Mexican salsa—a lot of it. That always helps. I like to go to SoulCycle, the class at 7:30AM, so I get up at 7 to make it on time. I’m into a new thing that I learned when I got an Ayurvedic massage at Mandala Yoga. The woman there recommended to oil your skin before getting into the shower. So when I get home, I put on Jiva-Apoha oils that are done locally here in Brooklyn, and then I get in the shower. By the time you get out of the shower, you don’t feel that dryness you usually feel with soaps and other things. I also like to regularly exfoliate—I try and buy different scrubs wherever I travel. The last one that I used is actually one that I bought at Soho House, and it’s the Spearmint Sea Salt Scrub. Because of my industry, I need to pay attention to my hands, so I love this hand cream from Khus+Khus.

I am totally into this brand, La Roche-Posay, for sun protection. I also like some of the sprays from Coola, because they’re very easy to apply. I want to take in the sun forever, but I’m worried that my teenage years were really bad—when you grow up going to the beach all the time, you don’t think about it. And everyone looks healthier sunkissed. So I do it carefully now—20 minutes in the sun, with SPF. And I take vitamin D, because I think that affects my energy levels.

Hair is important—I really put a lot of energy into it, in terms of products and treatments. I wash my hair every other day, because I exercise. I like the orange Kérastase, because I feel like it adds nutrition to my hair, but I buy what I can get. Sometimes I use this mask from Moroccanoil, the Smoothing Mask. My hair is naturally curly, but for business I usually straighten it. In Mexico City, people devote a lot of time to how they look—it’s a very polished society. When I don’t do anything to it, I come out of the shower and instead of brushing it with a brush, I do it with a thick comb. It’s separated, you know? Not too fine. And then I put on Moroccanoil and try to straighten it with my fingers as much as possible. I always carry Moroccanoil for my hair—I use very little, but it kind of puts everything in place. My hair takes a long time to dry, and if I’m pulling it straight with my fingers from the time I let it down, it gets kind of relaxed. If I have to do my hair really well, I just do Glamsquad.

I color my hair because I have some whites. I use this Color Wow Root Touch Up, and then, when I have to, go to Sam Brocato Salon. I love it there. I do highlights, but I only do it like once a year and they’re a really subtle caramel. And I cut my hair regularly—I cut it every quarter. So I try and keep it healthy by cutting it, and using very little shampoo [when I wash]. Stuff like that.

My favorite fragrance right now is Neroli Portofino. I like that it’s really fresh, it’s very light, it’s very subtle. It makes me feel like I’m on the beach—it’s a touch of freshness with a Mediterranean feel. So that’s one that I’ve been using very often. My favorite one of all time is Creed Silver Mountain. That in particular is really delicious. For everyday, I love the green one from Hermès. Even if I’m not doing anything at night, I’ll put on a little bit of this just because I love the scent."

—as told to ITG

Bertha González Nieves photographed by Tom Newton on January 29, 2019 in New York.