Tequila: It’s a spirit that has fueled many unforgettable nights and made us forget a few, too. Whatever your relationship with the Mexican liquor — good/bad/casually dating/just friends — there’s no denying that it’s synonymous with one of America’s favorite reasons to drink: Cinco de Mayo.
To get us ready for the holiday of bad decisions, Tequila Don Julio invited us to a Farm to Shaker dinner with a food and cocktail menu made by Cantina La Veinte’s Santiago Gomez and the team behind Cocktail Cartel. Held at Mariano Moreno Culinary Institute, the event opened our eyes to the world of tequila beyond clear and gold colors. We knew that the spirit could be used to make some awesome (and dangerous) cocktails, but little did we know that cooking with it could result in some awesome dishes, too.
Before we tried said awesome dishes, we drank — a lot. Prior to our meal, we had a chance to try four different Don Julio varieties: the Blanco, the Reposado, the Añejo and the Don Julio 70 (a special anniversary edition). Each one had its own distinct characteristics: the Blanco was light and sweet while the Reposado was rich and smooth. The Anejo was a little more complex with vanilla notes to complement its full body, and the Don Julio 70 combined our favorite elements from each one to make an ideal spirit.
While these tequilas can stand on their own, they’re just as enjoyable in the hands of capable mixologists like the Cocktail Cartel duo Eddie Fuentes and Hector Acevedo. The two made sure the crowd was more than taken care of with delicious drinks like the Mexican Sun, a concoction comprised of Tequila Don Julio Añejo, fresh lime juice, pink peppercorn syrup, carrot juice with fresh tumeric and mezcal spray. Another notable libation: La Bandera featuring the brand’s Reposado along with fresh lime juice, red bell pepper juice, cilantro and grapefruit syrup and soda water.
Equally memorable was the food. We’re big fans of Cantina La Veinte in Brickell, and Chef Gomez wowed us with delectable creations incorporating the tequilas, including a guajillo octopus, a braised short rib with Reposado demi glace and a Blanco key lime pie. Overall, the fun and educational night was filled with great food, great drinks and great company. Check out our photo gallery below for a closer look at the evening’s festivities.