Durango Tequila & Mezcal Tour
Tequila is more than just an alcoholic drink you shoot for an extra confidence boost to hit the dance floor. Tequila has a long, intricate history that dates back to when the ancient Aztecs created a spiritual, distilled drink known as “pulque.” Mezcal, similar in composition but with a much smokier demeanor, was a distilled spirit fused together by Spanish conquerors’ modern techniques and native inhabitants’ access to agave. Both these drinks date back hundreds of years. In fact, Tequila is older than the nation of Mexico itself. Tequila and mezcal tastings are increasingly becoming a sort of “hobby,” similar to that of craft beer.
NAYARIT MEXICAN CUISINE
Nayarit (pronounced “nay-yah-reet”), located just slightly north of downtown Durango, offers a variety of mezcals and tequilas. They’re infamous margaritas are served in large chalices that make you feel like a tequila-tasting king. Enjoy complimentary chips and salsa while you indulge in their mezcal and tequila menu.
*Tequila tip: Your hangover could be due to the percentage of agave in tequila. Search for the purest (100%) amount of agave. It’s likely to be less painful the next morning.
Photo credits: Taco Libre
Durango’s newest Mexican cocina, Taco Libre, is a modern, colorful space with handcrafted mezcal and tequila cocktails. Watch as your bartender pulls freshly prepared fruits and garnishes from the bar to create a marvelous mix of spirits and tropical flavors. Try a personal favorite, “El Corazon,” made with Mezcal Xicaru, blueberry, an assortment of berries, pineapple, hibiscus and Star Anise Syrup.
ERNIE'S AT 11TH STREET
Cozy up and find a good seat at the bar because Ernie’s at 11th Street Station has an extensive list of mezcal and tequilas for you to try. Mezcal flights are served in a half ounce glass with orange slices, chili salt and a Oaxaca favorite: chapulines (crickets). You can also try tequila flights, served with salt and a “sangrita.” If you’re feeling adventurous, Ernie’s also carries Raicilla on their menu, an agave spirit that’s often referred to as the “moonshine” of Jalisco.
*Tequila fact: Tequila is also the name of a region in Mexico.
EL MORO SPIRITS & TAVERN
At El Moro, enjoy a modern yet classic atmosphere and signature cocktails made with your favorite tequila and mezcal brands. Order Pepe’s Toronjas, served with Dobel Diamante tequila, grapefruit juice and jalapeno syrup for a spicy kick. For more jalapeno inspiration, try the True Romance, infused with jalapeno, cucumber and basil. Can’t handle the heat? Ask for an Old Fashioned #4 but with mezcal instead (you won’t be disappointed).
SWITCHBACK TACO & TEQUILA
Its taco time! Compliment your customizable tequila and mezcal flights with a full menu of tasty tacos and appetizers. There’s a ton of options and opportunities to try new styles such as anejo, reposado and silver. For a “cocktail especial,” try the Romeo & Juliet, made with Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, Aperol, lemon, grapefruit, simple syrup and bitters.
*Tequila tip: Don’t be fooled by impostors! Tequila is only tequila if its made from the blue agave plant, mostly found in the Jalisco region of Mexico.
DERAILED POUR HOUSE
Particularly known for libations, live music and handcrafted cocktails, Derailed is serving up some non-traditional tequila drinks for you. If you’re tired of a plain old Margarita, try a Cucumber Ginger Margarita, made with Suerte Reposado Tequila, with house-made ginger syrup, fresh cucumbers and lime juice (fancy, huh?).
Gazpacho is your destination for classic margaritas, hot red chiles, and green chile dishes. The team at Gazpacho make the trip down to Mexico to handpick their very own barrels of tequila from Casa Herradura, so you know you’re getting the good stuff. Keep it classy with “El Bandido,” a true house speciality featuring Herradura Double Barrel Reposado, fresh lime juice, agave nectar, simple syrup and Gran Gala orange liquor.
*Tequila fact: Did you know that the “Durango Cocktail Recipe” is a well known drink? It is a cousin to a Paloma cocktail. It's a delicious brunch beverage recipe made with tequila, amaretto and grapefruit juice.
We came, we drank, we conquered. Happy almost National Tequila Day, Durango! (Even though it's not until July 24th, who says we can't celebrate?!)