Photos By Clarissa Villondo, Words By Brandon Wetherbee
José Andrés was in Cuba. Donald Trump was in the Verizon Center. We were in Oyamel, one of José Andrés’ places and down the street from Donald Trump.
Every so often Oyamel decides that you need a special reason to visit them. The current reason is the Tequila & Mezcal Festival, running through April 3. Mezcal’s popularity is growing at a rapid pace in the U.S. It’s not possible for makers to keep up with demand. Trump’s popularity is also growing at a rapid pace. It’s not possible for sign makers to keep up with demand.
Chef Colin King is someone we’ve raved about for years and we’d like to recommend his Pescado Huarache (filets of Chesapeake perch, tamarind maggi glaze, escarole salad) for this piece. Oyamel’s food, while not the reason we attended the event, is something that brings all walks of life together.
If you’re not a mezcal afficianado. Sticking with the Oyamel cocktails is a good idea. Whether you’re into spicy or sweet, juicy or dry, there’s room for everybody. The cocktails are fair and balanced cocktail and not afraid of Islam.
The mezcal expert in our party praised what he sampled from Del Maguey Mezcal. The 20 year old company doesn’t have a large reach in D.C. so any opportunity to sample some was appreciated. That being said, we do not have a big head about drinking something most people can’t find. In fact, we’re telling you where you can find it, at least for the next week or so.
Another favorite mezcal was from Wahaka Mezcal. This producer showcased the most amount of products, all maintaining a high level of quality. Search out the Wahaka Mezcal Guajolote con Fruta bottle in their limited editions line. Their representative told us that turkey is involved in the distilling process. We thought we had too many drinks. We looked it up. He wasn’t lying. From the Wahaka Mezcal site: “For this celebratory bottling, Maestro Beto suspends a wild turkey breast in the still during the second distillation, but balances its meaty, oily characteristics by adding tangerine, banana, and cantaloupe directly into the espadín base mezcal.” The turkey flavored drink, yes, turkey, was a surprise. We don’t tend to associate meat with liquor. While we still not associate meat with liquor, we will respect its right to come and go from our booze as it wishes.
The Tequile & Mezcal Festival at Oyamel continues through next weekend with special dinners on March 28 and 29 and special tastings on March 28, 29 and 30. Whether you’re a novice or expert, there’s a new flavor that should expand your horizons.