Jose Cuervo mixes a margarita in space

Making a frozen margarita isn’t rocket science. Unless you’re Jose Cuervo, that is.

On National Margarita Day last weekend, tequila-maker Jose Cuervo took the humble margarita to new heights — literally. Jose Cuervo, agency McCann New York and a team of rocket scientists launched a container full of tequila and margarita fixins into space, where the drink was shaken and frozen. The full video of the experience released Thursday.

“Other brands have sent stuff into space, but we had a much better reason to do it — to literally freeze a margarita,” Tom Murphy, chief creative officer at McCann New York, told Digiday. He added that the brand wanted to cash in on its rich history as a pioneer of tequila, and own the space.

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 2.05.29 PMMcCann teamed up with Dr. Peter Smith from the University of Arizona, engineer Rigel Woida and an independent space program called JP Aerospace to cobble together a homemade spacecraft: three high-altitude helium weather balloons affixed to a lightweight platform that carried the margarita shaker. Multiple cameras were also affixed to the makeshift spaceship to record its flight.

Severe winds at a high altitude shook the margarita and the extreme cold at the outer edges of the Earth’s atmosphere froze it. When the capsule reached its apex — approximately 100,000 feet in the stratospheric layer — the balloons shattered and the frosty beverage parachuted back to earth.

“This is the upper stratosphere, which has conditions very similar to those on Mars’s surface — low pressure and cold temperatures,” Smith, who also spearheaded the Phoenix mission to Mars in 2003, said. “We went up beyond the ozone layer, so that we’d escape all the radiation and it wouldn’t heat up and evaporate the margarita.”

The shaken and frozen margarita landed in a rugged ravine about 100 miles from the launch site in the mining district of Winkleman, Arizona. The capsule and the camera footage were both intact. The brand also live-tweeted a countdown using #CuervoInSpace, and dedicated a Tumblr blog and its Facebook page to the launch. Videos documenting the launch that were posted on Facebook on the launch day have gathered over 100,000 views. The brand will continue to roll out behind-the-scenes footage in the forthcoming weeks.

Jose Cuervo is not the first brand to boldly go there. Red Bull launched the “Red Bull Stratos” project back in 2012, when it made Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner jump from the “edge of space” in a bid to reclaim the increasingly crowded energy drink space.

“It mind sound outlandish, but we wanted to remind people of the brand’s history,” Murphy said, adding that Cuervo had grand plans for upcoming festivals too.

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