In the words of my friend Katie, who joined me on a pilgrimage to El Bufalo this week,
“I’ve never actually sipped tequila.”
While I’m proud of my alcoholic beverage-advancements since my college
graduation three years ago (as in, I drink more than vodka-crans now), I’m a little
ashamed to admit that I’ve not yet reached the sipping stage. The idea of a neat
whiskey makes me want to die a little, and I still see straight alcohol as something to
be shot, endured for half a second and followed quickly with a lime or chaser.
Thus when we decided to take a trip to Canton Square’s El Bufalo in advance of
National Tequila Day (July 24), I was determined, though trepidatious, to celebrate
the holiday in style. After joining Katie at the bar, I looked the bartender square in the
eye and announced our intention: “We’d like to do a tequila flight.”
That, of course, was the end of my confidence.
“Okay, great,” the bartender, who we later learned was named Eric, said. “What do
you want to do? We’ve got Don Julio, Cazadores, Casamigos, El Jimador, Milagro…”
He kept going for a while before noticing the flabbergasted looks on our faces and laughing.
“Okay, let’s do Casamigos. That’s one of our best. Does that work?”
We nodded, and before we knew it, we each had three handsome portions of tequila
before us–apparently a blanco, anejo, and reposado. Time to sip.
Blanco according to Eric: “It has a clear, clean taste.”
Blanco according to Katie: “I like this, it’s pretty smooth.”
Blanco according to Kim: “This tastes like rubbing alcohol,”
Anejo according to Eric: “This is my favorite. It has notes of vanilla and a smooth,
Anejo according to Katie: “Oh yeah, this really tastes like vanilla.”
Anejo according to Kim: “It does taste like vanilla! I thought he was just saying that!”
We decided to take a brief break to eat our fish tacos, during which we decided to
order something “refreshing,” also known as “more tequila in the form of fruit-flavored
margaritas.” (I had strawberry and Katie had cucumber, and they were honestly
amazing.) Taco time was interrupted, too, by El Bufalo’s “Tequila Sunset,” a nightly
celebration where the entire bar gets a mini-shot of tequila–Corralejo this time.
Unexpected Corralejo, according to Eric: “It has a much more earthy taste, because
the agave is grown lower down.”
Unexpected Corralejo, according to Katie: “Oh, yep. Yep.”
Unexpected Corralejo, according to Kim: “That’s more like what I’m used to.”
Post-tacos and Tequila Sunset, it was time to get back to the task at hand. We
prepared for our final taste test, our wits perhaps not as about us as they’d been
when we begun.
Reposado according to Eric: “It tastes a bit like whiskey.”
Reposado according to Katie: “This is like the smoothest thing I’ve ever had.”
Reposado according to Kim: “It does taste like whiskey, but I hate whiskey.”
Tasting complete, we realized something unexpected about tequila flights: There’s
still a lot of tequila left over. Real adults, we assumed, would either continue to sip or
be satisfied with the taste test (we asked Eric, but he was too polite to confirm or
deny proper flight etiquette)…but being twenty-four and not yet in the tequila-wasting
phase of our lives, we shot them one after the other. (I will say, I didn’t feel the
usual burning in the throat that cheaper offerings bring on.)
Now substantially more comfortable and less on balance, we listened raptly as Eric
regaled us with tequila knowledge, moseying into mezcal and enumerating nuances
of the hundreds of bottles behind him. Before we knew it, it was past 11 and time to
Did I feel amazing the next morning? No. Would I do a tequila flight again? Probably.
Would I go to El Bufalo again? Definitely. Happy National Tequila Day, amigos!