Monday, August 24, 2009

Mayahuel: Tequila Done Right

Mention tequila and for many of us it conjures up memories of doing shots of the cheap stuff at late night college dorm room parties. And with it, memories of the epic hangover the next day. Lately however, tequila has been anointed THE star of the Manhattan mixologist set, along with its close cousins of the whole mezcal family. Mayahuel, a new bar in the East Village has taken this trend to the next level. Its cocktail menu runs several pages long and each drink sounds more inventive than the next. The selection of mezcals and tequilas rivals any top notch wine lists in the city. The bar serves food too, focusing on small mexican bites such as tacos, rellenos, quesadillas.

My friend and I, already a bit tipsy from drinks at dinner, decided to go two rounds. First round, the Selena Fizz (left in below photo) and Smoked Palomino (bigger glass on the right with a straw). The SF is made with blanco tequila, elderflower, grapefruit, lime, egg white, soda and a splash of orange bitters. Just the right tartness with a refreshing frothy finish. The SM tastes as it's named: smokey. The drink is made with Amontillado sherry, crema de mezcal, grapefruit, lime and a salted rim. A surprising taste that grew on me with every sip but definitely takes a bit of getting used to.

Second round, Sunset Park (left below) and R' Cobbler (right below). The SP is almost like a Manhattan made with tequila, with reposado tequila, dry vermouth and marschino. A solid, pure, no fuss drink that allows the tequila to shine. The RC combines blanco tequila with campari and mole bitters which had a very distinct taste. Both excellent.

Considering we only tried about 1/50th of the tome that is Mayahuel's impressive menu of options (not to mention any off menu items or bespoke drinks from the bartender...I mean mixologist) I am already scheming my next visit. And having experienced what can actually be achieved with this complex liquor when used in the right way, I have a new appreciation for tequila and mezcal. Let's just say I am so over margaritas.

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