Tequila Sunsets

December 20 2004, 9:27 PM
Saturday night I ended my evening at Mezcal, the East Colfax taqueria whose three-day anniversary party wrapped up last weekend. While there, I schmoozed with friends and colleagues, drank to our collective health, and nibbled on chicken tamales and Tres Leches birthday cake. Most importantly, I learned a handy new tidbit of cocktailing knowledge. Tequila is better when sipped intermittently with bloody mary mix. Actually, that's a bit fuzzy. You see, after several Sangre de Santos (the house sangria), I met up with my pal Jesse Morreale's business partners, Tim Connors and Steve Cohen. Steve was two-fisting his mescal, so of course I had to inquire. I mean, what's up with that? Was he just really thirsty? He's one of the owners, so I was fairly certain he wasn't stockpiling in case they closed the open bar. Turns out, Mr. Cohen knows his tequila and his mescals, and knows how to sip them properly. Sangrita is a traditional drink served alongside high-end tequilas in Mexico, where you order the duo as a "completo." Hence the two-fister scenario; one is the actual shot of tequila, the other is a snifter of sangrita. Sangrita is similar to bloody mary mix - tomato juice, OJ, spices, - but rather than mix in the alcohol, you slowly savor a bit of tequila, then alternately sip the sangrita. It's delicious, and obviously allows one to appreciate the finer characteristics of the tequila or mescal. I've sipped some tasty superpremium tequilas before this -- my first sip of Rey Sol anejo was a serious upgrade from my college era practice of salt, Cuervo, lime -- but the sangrita adds an entirely new, and entirely enjoyable element.