Mercadito Midtown, 3252 NE 1st Avenue, Miami 33137 (786) 369-0430

chef aldo ayala   

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 by Simone Zarmati Diament

I can’t think of a better opportunity to try and taste different brands of tequila than with a dinner at which each of the four courses is either prepared and infused with tequila, or is specially paired with diverse brands and types.

At the October tequila dinner at Mercadito Midtown, Executive Chef Aldo Ayala, a native of Puebla, did wonders with Casa Herradura’s Antiguo Tequila.

Until recently, when it was finally launched commercially in Mexico in 1995 — to celebrate Casa Herradura's 125th anniversary — and sold in the US a couple of years ago, this super-premium tequila — was served only to family and friends of Mexico's Hacienda del Refugio. Today, it belong to Brown-Foreman

Located in the highlands of Amatitán in the state of Jalisco, Antiguo Blanco, Reposado and Añejo are made from 100% pure agave and are aged in barrels;  American Oak for Blanco,  and American and French oak for Reposado and Añejo.

Antigua Tequila Blanco, crystal clear, light bodied, and with a strong, sweet agave scent was used for the initial cocktail: La Cuarta Fizz with guava purée, falernum syrup with hints of almond, ginger, cloves, and lime and Cava to accompany a first course of Guacamole with tequila-infused pineapple and habanero pepper.

A second cocktail with Tequila Antiguo Blanco, Pink Canela,  with an earthy-tasting mezcal, maraschino, grapefruit and cinnamon paired nicely with the second course: a Taco de mojarra with tilapia, grilled corn, huitlacoche —  a unique Umami-giving Mexican corn fungus delicacy—, Machego cheese and tequila-tomatillo salsa.

The Antiguo Tequila Reposado — hints of citrus and creamy butterscotch —made up The Smoking Tippler cocktail with mango and chile morita. This was superbly paired with Tequila marinated short ribs with a”Mole-Q” sauce, purple-Poblano salad and charred asparagus..

A shot of Antiguo Tequila Añejo, almost bronze in the glass and aged one year in American oak barrels and fragrant with complex  flavors of butterscotch, vanilla, spices and spearmint could have been a dessert unto itself, but married beautifully with a chocolate sponge cake topped with tequila-infused custard.

Chef/owner Patricio Sandoval has made a good choice. You can’t do much better at $45 per person including specialty cocktails and drinks.

The next tequila dinner will be held November 30, with Tequila Cazadores. Reservations are available by calling   (786) 369-0430 . Mercadito Midtown, 3252 NE 1st Avenue, Miami 33137




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