If you aren’t in the habit of drinking good tequila (and I don’t mean the $5,000 a bottle kind, which one connoisseur at our table last night told us was his favorite, WHAT?) then you might have uttered the words : te-KILL-ya.Â I know I have.Â More than once. Ok maybe about twenty times, but I’m a slow learner, forgive me.Â Also, I usually don’t go for the bottle unless I’m in a sunny tropical place or it’s April and I caught a whiff of the first signs of spring, then I am begging for an iced margarita sans the salt. And even then, it’s still not like I’m sipping the finest agave nectar like a pro.
But one particular tequila brand wants to change our way of thinking, doing and appreciating of the Mexican beauty. Don Julio, who just turned the ripe old age of 70, is traveling the country hosting educational dinners and parties so you can “Know Your Tequila”.Â Last night the group came into DC and held an intimate candlelit three-course meal cooked up and mixed up by Chef Malcom Mitchell and mixologist Andy Seymour.Â The event was held at the brand new Malmaison (owner Omar Popal whose family are also the proprietors of Napoleon and Bonaparte, has kept this space on Water Street under wraps), which after several conversations, I understand used to be a gym.Â Well, it’s been transformed to a two level restaurant bar and last evening it was 10000% Don Julio Tequila from the floor to the wall to the ceiling to even the restroom.
Guests enjoyed a backward flight of tequila out of champagne flutes and a fine insightful seminar from a Don Julio tequila expert about the who, what, when, where, why and how of the agave plant, geography, creation, tasting, flavor, ingredients etc. We started with Don Julio 70 (clear and smooth with traditional hints of vanilla, honey and toasted oak, aged 18 months – and my favorite), moved to Anejo (butterscotch, wild honey, lightly spiced finish, aged 18 months), then Blanco (crisp agave flavor, clean dry finish – salty and my least favorite, used for margaritas) and finished with 1942 (caramel & toffee, vanilla fragrance, sweet agave-laced finish, aged more than 2.5 years).Â After that we had hamachi crudo (with blanco vinaigrette) paired with the I-70 South cocktail (with 70) first, following up with the main of anejo tequila & chipotle glazed beef short ribs and Suave Agave (with Reposado) and the dessert was a delicious Mexican bread pudding (reposado) paired with Chocolate Mint Chip (anejo). Chef Malcom and Andy outdid themselves creatively and distinctively presenting outstanding finished plates and drinks that looked as good as they tasted. Chef Malcom was on Season 8 of Food Network Star.
But enough about the food and drink, let’s talk party. The night had just begun as the crowd grew, grabbing tequila cocktails and punch from trays and taking as many photos of the special guests DJ Ruckusand Rev Run, as they could. Yes, Rev Run (Joseph Simmons) as in Russell Simmons‘ brother and star of one of the first reality shows I watched, “Run’s House” on MTV and the Run DMC rapper.
Tequila, a nip in the air, lots of good food, music, even a live artist in a new Washington space = a good night.
Pamela Lynne Sorensen is the founder of Pamela’s Punch, a platform for profiling people who "make it happen" in the Capital region, reviews & topical blog posts. She launched Punch Enterprises, a connector consulting business in 2015 and Pacific Punch based in LA, in 2012. Pamela comes from an extensive background in sales and business development from a variety of industries, has been involved with charities and fundraising for a number of years and holds several Board and leadership positions. She currently resides in Arlington, VA. Follow her on Twitter at @pamelaspunch.