Oyamel Holding 7th Tequila & Mezcal Fest
Tequila and mezcal are both distilled beverages made from the agave plant. Tequila is made from the blue agave in only the Mexican state of Jalisco and limited regions in the states of Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit and Tamaulipas. Mezcal is made from the maguey agave in Oaxaca.
Oyamel Cocina Mexicana, José Andrés Mexican eatery at 401 7th St. NW, kicks off its seventh annual tequila and mezcal festival next Monday. The festival celebrates the heritage of the Mexican spirits.
From Mar. 10-23, Oyamel will feature special dishes created by chef Colin King, which highlight the flavors of Oaxaca and Jalisco. The festival also includes new tequila and mezcal cocktails, as well as a kickoff party, complimentary tastings and a dinner pairing series.
Next Monday, the kickoff party will feature food stations that pay tribute to Mexico’s thriving street food culture including Oyamel’s house-made guacamole with comal-fired tortillas, whole baby pig cochinita tacos, street-style ceviches, goat leg barbacoa, esquites and comal-fried quesadillas from 6-9 p.m. Drinks will include Oyamel’s signature margarita and an assortment of special tequila and mezcal cocktails, as well as tequila and mezcal tastings featuring Del Maguey Mezcal with founder Ron Cooper, Siembra Azul Tequila with founder David Suro along with Maestro Dobel Diamone Tequila, Pierde de Almas Mezcal and Tequila Ocho. The kickoff party will feature live Latin music from the band Montuno. Tickets cost $60 (all inclusive) and are available online.
Menu specials for the festival include ostiones con salsa piquín, oysters on the half shell topped with salsa piquín, onion and cilantro; ceviche estilo culiacán, marinated bass with serrano, lime, onion, cilantro, tomatillos and house-made hot sauce; ceviche de chamoy, sliced Hawaiian ono with chile piquín, mango, chile mulatos, chamoy, peanuts, cucumber, onion, lime and cilantro. Other dishes include encurtidos, pickled winter vegetables with tomatillo, queso cotija and chile piquín; cueritos, pork skin and chicharrons dressed with lettuce, lime, cilantro and salsa cascabel; veal breast birria, a braised veal breast with refried rebosero beans, salsa guajillo, lettuce and radish; and jalapeño escabeche relleno con carne seca, pickled jalapeños stuffed with dried beef and topped with chopped tomatillos. Prices range from $9-$14 each.
Special tequila and mezcal inspired cocktails during the two-week festival include the naranja dulce, limón partido, made with Reposado tequila, chamomile, orange blossom honey and roasted lemon; the el jarocho, with Añejo tequila, house-made ancho chile pepper liquor and Cocci Americano Rosa; the rosa de oaxaca, made with mezcal, hibiscus, raspberry and lemon; and the agave en leña, with mezcal, benedictine, agave nectar and house-made bitters. Cocktails range from $11-$14.
Free tequila and mezcal tastings will be held from 4-6 p.m. on Mar. 11-13 and Mar. 17-20 in the butterfly bar. Representatives from the featured brands will share their knowledge on the spirits and answer questions. Following the tastings, Oyamel will host an intimate dinner series with the featured guests. The schedule includes Ron Cooper from Del Maguey Mezcal and David Suro from Siembra Azul Tequila on Mar. 11. The tasting and dinner will focus on the tradition, history, current struggles and future possibilities of tequileros and mezcaleros. Others include David Ravandi from Tequila 123 on Mar. 12, Lauren Richmond, from Herradura Tequila on Mar. 13, Raza Zaidi from Wahaka Mezcal on Mar. 17, William Erickson from Fortaleza Tequila on Mar. 18, Fausto Zapata, founder of El Silencio Mezcal, on Mar. 19 and Arik Torren from Fidencio Mezcal at a dinner featuring La Venenosa Raicila on Mar. 20.
The post-tasting dinners will begin at 8:30 p.m.in the private dining room. The cost is $90 per person (exclusive of tax and gratuity) and will include the chef’s featured dinner menu and a cocktail pairing.
Editor-in-Chief Mark Heckathorn is a journalist, movie buff and foodie. He oversees DC on Heels editorial operations as well as strategic planning and staff development. Reach him with story ideas or suggestions at dcoheditor (at) gmail (dot) com.