2/27/17—I had been talking about taking my best friend, Nicole, tequila tasting for her birthday for the last couple of years, but it never seemed to work out. Nicole is that friend who, whenever she isn’t enjoying a good craft cocktail or a glass of champagne, her immediate go-to at the bar is tequila shots for the whole group. I’ve come home a bit drunker than anticipated on many a night when Nicole got the group going on tequila. When I saw that Oyamel’s Tequila & Mezcal festival was happening February 27th-March 12th, I knew our tequila tasting moment had come (even though Nicole’s birthday is in October). The kickoff party for the festival included unlimited tequila and mezcal tastings from a multitude of producers, both large and small, that were on site for the event. It also included unlimited passed hors d’oeuvres, a pig carving station, chips with salsa & guacamole, ceviche, oysters, tacos, and specialty tequila and mezcal cocktails at the bar. I deemed that all of this was well worth the $50 price tag for the ticket.
Our first order of business upon arriving was getting some food in our stomachs (always important before lots of drinking!). We tried a little of everything, and all of it was divine.
Next, we went for the specialty cocktails. We agreed that our mission was to try them all before the night was over. There were six in total. Don’t worry, we didn’t have six each…we shared. I mean, come on, it was a Monday after all!
Our favorites were the two versions of Margarita del Dia (margarita of the day):
Margarita del Dia #1—reposado tequila, Mayan honey liquer, grilled lemon, smoked honey
Margarita del Dia #2—Mezcal El Silencio, pineapple, ginger syrup, lime, coconut air
The next ones were a bit more on the savory side. They were great, but not as great as the margaritas of the day:
Blurred borders—Avion reposado tequila, serrano syrup, Peychaud’s absinthe, cedar smoked ice
El Divo de Oaxaca—Craneo organic mezcal, Cardamaro, Yellow Chartreuse, dry vermouth, chocolate mole bitters
Our least favorite, although still fantastic, were the normal margaritas:
Oyamel Margarita—Milagro silver tequila, Combier, fresh lime, topped with salt air
Classic Margarita—silver tequila, Combier, fresh lime
After all of the cocktails had been tasted, we started our rounds of tequila and mezcal tastings.
Our favorite tasting was with Josh from Tequila Fortaleza. The tequila was amazing, and he taught us all about the process of making the tequila and what sets the small production shops apart from the mass producers. This man was so passionate about tequila production, that he had an agave plant tattoo!
We also had a great time tasting the mezcal at Mezcal Yuu Baal’s tasting station; so fun, in fact, that Nicole made her way behind the table with the representative from Yuu Baal. She was basically pouring the shots herself by the end of the night.
Del Maguey Mezcal’s representative introduced us to the idea that mezcals can have a huge spectrum of flavors—they were showcasing seven different versions of their mezcal at the festival. We tasted a few, and they did all taste remarkably different. Also, they had these adorable little clay tasting glasses.
We also tried tequilas from Siembra Spirits and Milagro, as well as mezcals from Montelobos Mezcal and Wahaka Mezcal.
After three hours of eating and drinking, we left the festival full, a bit tipsy, and with a lot more knowledge about tequila and mezcal than we went in with.