One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor!
It’s the mack daddy of fun party liquors. Just the name itself brings up thoughts of Mexican cantinas, wild, dancing partygoers, and that old classic song by the one-hit wonder The Champs (but what a one-hit!) It’s the main liquor in such famous cocktails as the tequila sunrise, the tequila slammer, and the ubitquitous margarita (which had its own national food holiday back on February 20). And it’s also famously drank straight, as a shot buffered by a lick of salt and a squirt of fresh lime juice to lessen the harsh effect on your throat. Whether you’re in Cabo or in Cobble Hill, tequila always means a rousing good time!
The process of making and organizing tequila, though, is very serious business. Tequila is made from the blue agave plant, which is primarily found in the Tequila region of Mexico, where over 300 million plants are harvested for the liquor every year. It’s so serious that, in Mexico, only blue agave grown in the state of Jalisco (where Tequila resides) can be called “tequila,” much like how every French champagne not made in the Champagne region is merely “sparkling wine.” So when you get a fine tequila–or hell, even a cheap one–you know that it’s only coming from one place in the world, and has been since the 16th century!
But enough about Mexico; you want to know about New York City’s tequila–or, more importantly, where you can drink the best tequila in town. What better place to taste-test some of the finest tequilas in the world than a bar named for the thing itself? Agave Restaurant in the West Village may be a respectable restaurant, specializing in Mexican and Southwest fusion brunches, but by night it’s a full-fledged tequila bar, offering literally dozens of varieties to try straight up. They also offer their signature margaritas, made with agave nectar (the naturalist’s brand new sweetener of choice)–and you can choose your poison when it comes to what brand of tequila you’d like to mix in! Talk about your accommodations for taste! Or if you had your fill of margaritas in February (as if!), try one of Agave’s other great cocktails, like the Tamarindo–vanilla-infused tequila, tamarind juice, and the ever-present agave nectar. Or the Acapulco Spice might make you feel more like you’re in Jalisco yourself: jalapeno-infused tequila is mixed with Combier and fresh lime juice for a real kick–and not just from the tequila! And if you don’t know what kind of tequila to choose from, ask the bartender, Jason, for suggestions; he really knows his way around the worm!
140 7th Ave S (between 10th St & Charles St)
“The southwestern-themed restaurant attracts crowds for its fusion food, but people mainly know the place for their inventive margaritas and varieties of tequila. They have lists solely dedicated to blanco, reposado, and anejo tequilas, and the restaurant even makes their own jalapeno-infused liquor.”–Grid Skipper
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“I was only in New York for a short visit, but I found time to visit Agave on not one but two occasions. The first night I arrived this massive Fresh Strawberry Frozen Margarita was immediately placed in front of me. Unlike other frozen margarita’s, the restaurant uses only top-shelf tequila to top off the season’s best fresh fruit puree of your choice.”–Victoria P.
“My friends ordered margaritas and I ordered a sipper of Siete Leguas anejo. Upon ordering, the bartender asked how I made my selection (as opposed to either asking for a recommendation or going for a more known tequila (e.g., Patron, Don Julio). I explained that I have a decent knowledge of tequila and immediately the bartender stuck up a conversation, insisted that I try many of their tequilas (including off-the-menu drinks).”–Matthew W.
Make sure you check out the updated NYC Food Holidays Map to find this most recent holiday!