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The Right Dish for the Right Tequila

Wednesday, December 12th, 2018
shotglass of tequila with lime wedge and salt

There is much more to tequila than meets the eye. Beyond margaritas and the cheap shots you liked back in college, tequila is a robust drink that can be enjoyed on its own or as a sipping accompaniment to your meal. The challenge is pairing the right flavors in food with tequila in order to enjoy the full flavors.

Derived from the agave plant, this spirit is a surprisingly complex and versatile liquor that can be sorted into three distinct varieties: Blanco, Reposado, and Añejo.

Each of these types of tequila pair best with certain dishes, which we’ll explore below.

Blanco

blanco tequila poured margarita

Blanco (or silver) is the purest form of tequila you can get your hands on. This tequila is not aged and cannot have any additives, a stipulation backed by Mexican law. The end result is a clear liquor with a bold, crisp flavor of the blue agave plant it has been distilled from.

What to pair this tequila with

This pale tequila and its curious light and herbal notes tend to complement acidic foods such as citrus, along with most seafood and vegetable-based dishes.

From the Plaza Menu: Tilapia Veracruz

The Tilapia Veracruz is a popular seafood dish from our dinner menu. The hand-selected fresh tilapia filet comes with three jumbo shrimp and is topped with a homemade cream sauce and melted cheese. It’s an excellent dish with light flavors that will make for an ideal pairing for blanco tequila.

Reposado

Tequila that has been aged in an oak barrel for at least two months but less than a year is called reposado. Distinct from blanco tequila, reposado is easily identified by its unique balance of agave and oak flavors. You may also catch some rich vanilla and floral notes, pay attention to the different subtleties that each distillery gives their unique blend of tequila.

What to pair this tequila with

Due to the similar aging process, reposado’s kick can resemble that of whiskey. So look for a dish that can stand up to this feisty tequila. The woodsy, smoky flavors of grilled beef or pork and spicy dishes are what you’re looking for.

Bonus tip: Meat dishes with sauces with cinnamon, orange or honey ingredients make for incredible pairings with Reposado.

From the Plaza Menu: Tacos de Carnitas

We recommend the Tacos de Carnitas plate to pair with reposado tequila. The juicy smoked pork and hearty charro beans are a succulent backdrop for the flavors to play out on.

Añejo

Añejo is tequila that has been aged in oak barrels for a minimum of one year (but less than three). This is an impressive liquor with a regal taste. Smooth and rich with complex notes, this honeyed amber tequila is for the more indulgent dishes and desserts.

What to pair this tequila with

Look for red meat rubbed with spices, such as a hearty steak with sides. Añejo’s rich tones pair well with any dessert, but will truly shine when teamed up with chocolate flavors.

From the Plaza Menu: Chocolate Tres Leches Cake

Our chocolate tres leches cake is just one of our many chocolate desserts, but the The delicacy of the tres leches and the decadence of the chocolate will team up to bring the complex and nuanced flavors of this regal tequila out to play.

Don’t Be Afraid to Explore!

Tequila is becoming more and more popular around the world as a drink of choice. It’s a versatile spirit that can be paired with many more dishes than what we’ve listed. Think of this as a debriefing, so that you can feel comfortable choosing different things to try! Once you’ve got a knack for what flavors go best with each type of tequila, why not challenge yourself by picking dishes from other cuisines to see what works? Surprise yourself by finding a pasta dish or even a roll of sushi that pairs seamlessly with your tequila choice.