Maybe you liked tequila before tequila was cool, but in recent years the Mexican spirit has become decidedly hot. Its popularity soared during the pandemic as a spirit of choice while drinking at home, but National Tequila Day, this Saturday, July 24, offers as good of an excuse as any to get out of the house and let someone else shake and pour for you.
A handful of local establishments have announced tequila-related specials to mark the occasion. At dLeña, the newest venture from Mexican-born international restaurateur Richard Sandoval (El Centro D.F.), the special of the day is a half-priced signature margarita called the Mercado, which kicks things up a notch with serrano-infused blanco tequila shaken with passion fruit juice, plus agave and lime, topped with a hibiscus-rosemary foam.
While drinking margaritas is an acceptable way to honor the holiday, the classic cocktail already has its own special day in February. True tequila aficionados or aspirants might consider drinking the spirit neat instead — perhaps as part of a tasting flight. The restaurant, located at 476 K Street NW, offers several flights that work to help increase awareness and appreciation of the spirit, its types, and brands.
A Horizontal Flight at dLeña helps guests better discern distinctions between brands by offering three different tequilas in the same aging category, whether Blanco ($21), Reposado ($24), or Anejo ($27). Meanwhile, a Vertical Flight helps showcase the effects of aging and the differences between aging categories produced by a single distiller, whether of Milagro products ($22), Corralejo ($24), or Patron ($27).
Tequila Tasting Flights are also a feature of the daily menu at TTT, which has locations in Clarendon and Silver Spring. Guests have an extensive list from which to choose to compare Horizontal taste differences between brands per aging category, either Blanco ($20), Reposado ($25), or Anejo ($30), or they can go for a “Vertical Expression” ($23) to compare how aging techniques change the flavor of product from a single distiller, choosing among Cabo Wabo, Casa Noble, Don Julio, Milagro, or Herradura.
There’s also “TTT’s Selection” ($60), which allows guests to compare three high-end tequilas from a set list, including Patron Roca Silver, Avion Reserva, or Milagro Select Reserve. Specifically for the holiday, both locations of TTT will be offering $6 tequila blanco shots all day from either of their house brands, Espolon and Milagro.
Morris American Bar, the bright, artisan cocktail-focused venture at 1020 7th Street NW, is putting its own twist on a tequila tasting flight — this one nodding to the rush of American celebrities cashing in on tequila’s surging global popularity by launching their own brands. But are they good?
Morris is putting that question to the test in a weeklong “celebrity tequila smackdown,” in which guests will blindly rank their favorites among Kendall Jenner’s 818, George Clooney’s Casamigos, The Rock’s Teremana, The Chainsmokers/Elliot “@fuckjerry” Tebele’s JAJA, and Diddy’s DeLeón. Voting is open through July 31, when the winner will be announced along with the launch of a specialty cocktail added to the bar’s menu for the next month.
Finally, the most festive — and no doubt gayest — of the bunch is the 12-hour celebration that Wunder Garten in NoMa (1101 First Street NE) will throw beginning at noon. There will be multiple chances to win free shots and prizes all day long. They will also serve a mix of specialty drinks with amusingly silly names like “Tequila, Tequila, and Grapefruit!,” “Miss Peach” margarita, and “La Niña.” Feeling tipsy yet?
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