A five course tequila-pairing dinner. On a Monday night. Sound like a bad idea?
Nah. Pretty genius, actually. In November I had a girls’ night out to get a lesson in tequila at TacoLu. Debbie and Don of The Lu were introducing their extra super special Debbie and Don’s Herradura Double Barrel Reposado, a one-of-a-kind tequila from an exclusive barrel program that had taken them to Guadalajara and back.
Rueben Aceves Vidrio came to TacoLu all the way from Guadalajara to present Debbie and Don’s Herradura Double Barrel Reposado and to teach us Yankees a little something about a spirit called tequila. We’re not talking about the toilet water with the worm at the bottom or the copper-colored blended swill that made us all sick a time or two in college. We’re talkin’ pure, 100% blue agave tequila here, folks.
Herradura is an institution in Mexico. The company’s El Jimador is the #1 selling brand of tequila in the country and accounts for 40% of the entire spirits industry of Mexico! Plus it’s the only tequila in the country that can call itself 100% natural. It’s kind of a big deal.
We tried it in many forms that evening. Upon arrival we enjoyed a champagne cocktail with mango puree and Herradura Silver tequila while we made our way to the table.
The first course was ceviche verde with sheepshead, serrano chile and avocado. Paired with Herradura Silver (the only white tequila aged in oak barrels for 45 days – smooth and clean).
Next: creamy corn soup. Don described it as the liquid version of their Mexican street corn. Which I TOTALLY love. The soup was topped with a huitlacoche crema reduction with lime juice and had a spicy kick at the end. Paired with Herradura Reposado (aged for 11 months, five times the norm, in white oak barrels – notes of oak, orange zest, vanilla).
Third was tortas ahogadas, Debbie and Don’s version of a classic Mexican dish they ate frequently on their trip to Guadalajara. It’s a pork carnitas sandwich doused in spicy tomato sauce. Served with a tamarind margarita with a hint of lime.
It came with avocado fries!
Somewhere in there we tried a true gem of a tequila: Herradura Seleccion Suprema. Herradura’s was the first Extra Añejo in the industry and is the true pride of the company as it was tested for over 20 years to get it juuuust right. It’s aged for over FOUR YEARS and is the most complex tequila in the world.
Finally it was time to sample Debbie and Don’s exclusive Double Barrel tequila. To accompany it we were served a fancy mushroom taco. Fancy, indeed, as it included caramelized red onion, manchego, cilantro and huitlacoche, a Mexican delicacy that Don euphemized as “a mushroom that grows on corn.” Wikipedia calls it “corn smut.” Obviously I prefer the Wikipedia description. Sorry Don.
The taco was served with Debbie and Don’s Herradura Double Barrel Reposado (aged for 11 months then moved to a different barrel to age for one month more, giving it a new dimension in flavor – very caramel-y and smooth with hints of butterscotch, vanilla, cinnamon). A true treat!
The night ended with the TacoLu choco-taco: chocolate tortilla, “Don’s nearly famous” pepita ice cream, candied chiles and cinnamon sugar. Served with jalapeño blackberry Herradura Añejo margarita with a sugared chocolate rim.
If you hurry you can try Debbie and Don’s Herradura Double Barrel Reposado at the bar at TacoLu but act quickly because this one-of-a-kind tequila won’t last long. Salud!