Mexico: Day 2/3 - Drinking (Drinking to Drink - Part V)

I'm back in Redwood City today, but I thought I'd close out the tequila photos and add some more insight. After a fantastic day at the distillery yesterday it was time to head back to the hotel, take a nap, and get some work done before heading back out for dinner. We enjoyed out first meal in Guadalajara so much we decided to return to the same restaurant one last time for an epic meal. Because Lou had been so flabbergasted at the idea of eating grasshopper tacos, the sadist in me decided to really give him a bad time that night. I was going to order the craziest things on the menu and make sure Lou watched me eat them. "You sonova bitch," he grumbled while wearing a devlish smirk. First up – agave larva tacos.

They came in a little bowl, all grilled up and ready to eat. Lou was shaking his head in disbelief, "You're not going to eat that. I know you're not. But if you are then make sure you take a picture," so he slid over his iPhone, making sure I would snap a few photos. The worms that sometimes live in the agave piñas are fat and juicy, but their consistency is more like overly-cooked shrimp in a taco: crispy on the outside, yet soft and chewy in the middle. Yum!

I washed down the agave larva with a healthy pull from my El Viejito blanco tequila. No problems so far. Now it was time for the ant eggs. The restaurant El Tequila actually sends someone out to harvest the eggs of large army ants in the desert. They had a video of the guy doing it on their kitchen iPad, getting stung like crazy while trying to gather these tiny vessels of flavor out of the earth. Lou was beside himself at this point. Into my mouth they went, however, wrapped in a corn tortilla. We were all crying with laughter at this point. I could barely chew. The ant eggs tasted just like an earthy wild rice pilaf with the exact same texture and weight. Nothing odd or off putting when lathered with salsa and guacamole. 

Throughout the night we continued on with the El Viejito bottle service. One bottle of blanco and one bottle of reposado remained constantly within our midst, along side numerous mixers like tonic, soda water, Squirt and Coca-Cola. Some people would pour a glass of straight blanco to start, but then switch to a Paloma. The night was effortless and everyone was enjoying themselves without pretense or pedantry. This situation would be hard to fathom in America where I tend to avoid large booze-related gatherings. Why, you might ask? Because it's almost impossible to enjoy spirits within the United States without some know-it-all chiming in and telling you how to drink it.

There's no issue consuming $15 booze in the Bay Area. No one's going to have a heart attack if you pour some Old Crow into your soda. However, there is an ever-expanding chip-on-the-shoulder club that feels the need to articulate the fact they drink spirits neat. There are times when I'll recommend a product to someone under the pretext of, "It's a great sipper, but it also mixes quite well into cocktails." Every now and again the customer's blood will begin to boil, their eyes flutter, and the retort of, "I NEVER MIX ANYTHING INTO MY WHISKEY!" fills the spirits aisle, shocking and scaring nearby shoppers. How dare one even propose such a thing! The indecency! This specific personality in the booze world feels that any true spirits aficionado would never dilute the purity of fine liquor. Doing so would only expose you as a novice and a fool.

It couldn't be more the opposite, however. I'm fine with drinking spirits neat. I often do so. I'm fine with anyone who only drinks spirits in that manner. That's great. However, why the outrage? Getting upset or showing disdain for those who choose to mix their spirits, ironically enough, only marks you as someone who doesn't understand or appreciate alcohol. These people are so eager to prove they love booze more than the casual drinker that they overcompensate with their strict rules and guidelines. Rules aren't fun, however. If you have to drink something a certain way because that's how the French do it, or that's how the experts do it, then you're missing out on the best parts of drinking. People who genuinely enjoy sipping spirits aren't out to hold that over the heads of others. They're too busy drinking. Only those who are uncertain in their own behavior are out there headhunting, looking to make a point with their faux anger.

And that's what I loved about our two days in Mexico. We had inexpensive tequila. We had really expensive tequila. We had tequila with soda. We had tequila on the rocks. No one cared how you drank it. No one said anything when you did. They simply passed the botella when your glass was empty and smiled when you poured yourself some more.

I can't wait to go back.

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll