Tuesday night? Tequila? Certainly!
Last Tuesday, I sauntered over to 400 Rabbits, the fairly new tequila bar attached to the Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter location, for a tequila tasting. I had been to 400 Rabbits before since not only is it located in the same building as an Alamo Drafthouse, but it is also very close to my house. What brought me out on a Tuesday night was the offer a free comparative tasting of tequila hosted by Bill Norris, Alamo Drafthouse Beverage Director and all around awesome bartender, and a chance to become one of the 400 Rabbits. What’s that, you ask? Well first I have to explain where this bar got its unusual name. From their press release:
The name 400 Rabbits, is derived from the Aztec goddess Mayahuel, the divine personification of the agave plant. According to Aztec lore Mayahuel gave birth to the Centzon Totochtin, which in English translates to The 400 Rabbits. These 400 Rabbits were fed by Mayahuel’s four-hundred breasts that produced fermented agave. The 400 Rabbits are said to be the gods of intoxication due to their strict diet of “tequila.”
As part of their grand opening festivities, 400 Rabbits has been running various contests for locals to become one of the 400 Rabbits. As a Rabbit, you receive a keychain signifying your status, a T-shirt(!), and last but not least, 20% off your bar and food tab for a year. Not too shabby indeed. And there are also a number of Rabbit-only events planned for throughout the year.
If Tuesday’s shindig was any indication of what’s to come, consider me impressed. And for those of you thinking tequila is only good for over-sweetened and soured margaritas or for that inevitable shot that pushes you over the inebriation ledge, think again. 400 Rabbits is full of tasty tequilas many folks have never heard of. Sure they have the fancy schmancy cocktails which as also quite nice, but I have learned to appreciate the sipping tequila in recent years.
Delicious Alambres at 400 Rabbits
Upon arriving (which I did rather early since only the first 30 attendees were awarded Rabbit status), I noticed 6 glasses set for comparing two tequila maker’s lines. This could be interesting. Before the tasting started, the kind folks from 400 Rabbits laid out a fine spread of some of their most popular menu items, including Alambres (skewered NY strip with bacon & poblano), Chicharrones (heavenly pork rinds), and an assortment of salsas with chips, for attendees to sample.
Once we had some food, Norris began the tasting by giving some background on tequila. Though I thought I was pretty well informed about tequila, having majored in it for a brief time in college (haha), I managed to learn a few things:
- Despite common belief, the blue agave which is what tequila is made from is NOT a member of the cactus family, but rather the orchid family.
- There is a lack of bio diversity in the blue agave grown since plants clone themselves. Therefore, if there is a genetic predisposition for disease or weakness to a certain pest, an entire plantation could be lost.
Mmm Tequila Tastiness
Finally the actual tasting began with attendees sharing the notes they tasted in the various tequilas. Not unlike wine, the tequilas tasted had a number of subtle notes such as menthol, pepper, wood and tobacco. The preferred line according to my palate was from 7 Leguas, a highland tequila producer. Reasonably priced, I found all three varieties of this line to be smooth, but complex, with a very nice agave character. Having not tried this brand before, I now have a new favorite sipping tequila. The night finished with a piece of Quatro Leches cake and two crowd sourced cocktails made with Partida Blanco – one included sage, lemon & pineapple; and the other mint, lime, and pineapple. Not a bad way to spend a Tuesday night. Not bad at all.