For many people just the word tequila summons up memories of nasty tasting shots, drunk in one gulp with a wince and a fast ensuing hangover. But for those in the know, those misconceptions are fast becoming outdated, and if you know what you’re looking for, there’s a world of beautiful tequilas that tantalise the taste buds, either straight up, or mixed in delicious cocktails. Start exploring here…
Top tequila stories
The humble Wahaca margarita, that exquisite double shot of 100% agave tequila, lime and organic agave syrup, now has a national day set aside so we can all take a moment to properly celebrate its greatness. The 22nd of February is officially National Margarita Day around the world, and we have some special plans for you to look out for at a few of our margarita loving hot spots.
In Wahaca Liverpool we’re hosting a National Margarita Appreciation week, with 4 nights of revelry. From Wednesday 22nd – Friday 24th February 2017, we’re giving free margaritas when you pop in to eat with us (and say the magic password), and our celebration culminates on Saturday 25th February, when Latin favourite DJ Muvelo will be spinning some tracks up in our rooftop bar. You can check out full details of how you can get involved over here.
Meanwhile, in London’s Wahaca Canary Wharf, Charlotte Street and Soho Bars and Restaurants (as well as up in Liverpool), we will be serving an exclusive, extra special Patron margarita, made with Patron silver, a smooth, buttery and lightly spiced super-premium tequila, served chilled and bottled. It’s available for a limited run from Tuesday 23rd to Sunday 26th of February.
Don’t forget to tell us your Margarita tales using the hashtag #NationalMargaritaDay and salud compadres!
Whether you’re calling it the tail end of summer or the beginning of autumn, you’ll still be looking for some tasty bites to see you through the seasonal changes and we’ve got a couple of absolute humdingers for you as we continue through the year of the taco.
Anyone paying particular attention might well know about our friends at Riverford Organic, who we helped out last year by buying an entire field of corn, after their crop developed the unmistakably delicious fungus that gives the Mexican delicacy huitlacoche it’s earthy, truffley richness. This time around they’ve been growing organic poblano peppers for us, and we’re turning them into the latest in our run of winning tacos. We coat them in panko breadcrumbs, deep fry them and lay them into a corn tortilla on top of a base of frijoles, then finish with chipotle mayo and a zingy tomatillo salsa = Poblano tacos.
We’ve also got meat eaters covered with the ludicrously tasty Lamb taquito. We marinade British lamb shoulder in an ancho chilli adobo run and slow cook it with orange and spices to give it an amazingly unctuous juiciness. Then it’s rolled into corn tortillas and deep fried to give it a crunchy bite and popped on top of a shredded slaw with salsas and crumbled feta cheese.
To drink? Our take on a cocktail that we first discovered about 5 years ago whilst running around LA, hunting for the world’s finest taco trucks. The chilli and coriander margarita takes Olmeca Altos Blanco tequila and shakes it up with fresh cut coriander and a serrano chilli to give a gentle hit of warmth to spice up your autumn.
Wahaca Soho & Latinos in London bring you
VIVA MEXICO! A Mexican Independence Day Fiesta to celebrate with all the honours on Thursday 15th of September from 7pm until midnight and FREE ENTRY!
On the decks music selected by Sonideroots Collective DJ’s playing the best latin tunes and global beats feat. Paola Feregrino DJ (Entre dos tierras Club London) + Carlitos Nino (ARRIBA LA CUMBIA / Latinos in London) playing the best Latin and Mexican beats.
Special guest Tequila Fest will be offering some tastings with Mexican agave ambassadors and answeting all your tequila and mezcal questions.
Dress in your best red, green or white, Bring your best Mexican costume, wave your mexican flag, wear your mariachi hat or your wrestler mask and poncho to have fun and ready for the photo album of this year and prepare yourself to be ready for El Grito (shout of independence) to get wild in our special night!
Venue: Azulito Bar, Soho
Wahaca, 80 Wardour St, W1F 0TF London, United Kingdom
Raise a toast to Mexico’s much loved (and often misunderstood) liquid export as Tequila & Mezcal Fest makes a triumphant return on 17th and 18th September 2016 for a third consecutive year, and is The UK’s first ever and only festival dedicated exclusively to showcasing the very best bits of Mexico in what continues to be the greatest ever agave extravaganza.
Sample Mexico’s finest tequilas and mezcales with the country’s best agave ambassadors, talk to producers and get first hand knowledge of this drink of the gods. Explore the best of Mexican culture and pop by our little brother’s DF/Mexico to sample some simply delicious tacos. A day out not to be missed for Mexico and agave lovers.
To get your tickets click here.
We’ve got something oh-so-special for anyone looking for a new tipple to sip this summer.
Now pouring at all our restaurants is a range of 4 mezcales (that’s tequila’s smoky cousin in case you missed it) served with a choice of premium Fever-Tree tonic waters, a pairing that’s ripping it’s way through New York’s finest bars, and that we’ve found to be the kickstarter to many a good night.
With its complex aromatics, mezcal, the most discerning of agave spirits, is the perfect accompaniment for these light and sparkling tonic waters (and is much less ruinous than its spiritual forerunner).
To check out our full drinks list, along with our newly spruced up tequila and mescal lists, head here.
Meet Jon, originally from Norway, and working for Amathus, one of our great suppliers, he is probably one of the world’s most passionate tequila and mezcal prophets. And if you have been lucky enough to see him give a masterclass (at the Amathus stores, at Wahaca bars, or as part of bar training) you will know exactly what we mean, We caught up with him to ask how can a Norwegian guy be so Mexican?
How did your passion for mezcal begin?
I guess it started when I first lived with Mexicans, they had a flair for living and for parties, and with parities came drinks, and part of that was drinking Tequila. I guess you can say it all started with drinking Tequila.
There was mezcal back then but mostly industrial mezcal with worms, I did not know it as industrial mezcal then, it was just mezcal but I did not like it, sure it was a little exiting with the gusano (caterpillar) in the bottle but the taste was like industrial tequila on steroids, pure petrol and even with the added caramel and sweetness it was still not pleasant.
Now mezcal seems to be so much in fashion, even Mick Jagger told the crowd in Mexico City recently that he now drinks mezcal, how did things change?
When looking back I can’t imagine the mezcal category would have been where it is now, if this had been only type of mezcal on the market, it all changed with Ron Coopers Del Maguey and his work with the village palenqueros (producers, distillers and farmers).
What they together produced was revolutionary, the palenqueros Faustino, Don Lencho, Paciano, Espiridion and El Rey made the juice, Ron the bottles and the labels and what a winning combination, here was this product, this mezcal that was high in abv (alcohol by volume) that was unadulterated, free from chemicals, free from additional sweetener, that was pre-organic, pre-biodynamic, made in a way that was unchanged for generations, in small villages by one family, that was in essence just the pure juice from the agave. How can you not love this.
For me defining moment was going to Oaxaca, I had been to Jalisco on numerous occasions, visiting tequila distilleries in both Tequila and Arandas, but seeing the first palenque was like going to another planet, sure I had seen photos and heard the stories but to see one up close was insane.
What was the distillery like?
There is a big hole in the ground where the agaves are earth roasted and a round stone basin, where a round millstone is standing, it has a horse harness attached, so the millstone can be pulled around by a horse or a mule, crushing the halved cut cooked agaves into fibres, no modern equipment, no electricity, they use wood to heat the still up and for heating up the stones in the bottom of the cooking pit.
In the tick of the action there is one guy and his family, they run the whole operation, they do everything, plant and harvest the agave. They cook, crush, ferment and distil them self, with very little outside help. For this family to make one batch of mezcal can take them anywhere from a month to two months depended if you harvest wild or planted agaves.
It’s all hand made in it truest form.
How was your interaction with the mezcal makers?
You are then invited for lunch, expertly cooked by the women, cooking downwards by hand over open fire, in some cases the day before you arrive. You sit on the best table, surrounded by the family and eating some of the best food you will ever eat, drinking mezcal straight from the still, feeling close to nirvana, wishing they could serve something else than coca cola…..
You leaving with a family richer, wishing to come back soon, you sit in the car thinking to yourself how unique this experience was, almost like traveling back in time, thinking this must be a special one and the only one left, but as you travel around and visiting other palenques you start realise they all are like this, the country side is littered with small palenques like that, sure not all of them are like this, some will have concrete floor, a corrugated metal roof and a few wall, but they all have the same layout, using the same process. Some of this mezcal producing families are indigenous to the region, they are either Zapotec, Mixtec or Mixe (and others, 30% of all the indigenous people in México lives in the state of Oaxaca)
And last but not least as it’s the Year of the Taco, what is your favourite taco ever?
There used to be this taco stand next to the big square in Arandas, called Tacos Machete which did this amazing tacos al carbon (grilled), bistek, pollo and so on…. they also did the fresh nopal pads with melted cheese that was delicious.
You can catch Jon at a Wahaca Bar near you very soon for some very special masterclasses, keep an eye on our blog for more info.
On November the 7th, we are throwing a 12 hour party in London’s Tobacco Dock, celebrating the dead and the living, indulgence and debauchery, loud music, fine food and provocative debate, surrounded by beautiful art. You should come.
A celebration of Day of the Dead comes to life on a scale the UK has never seen before, with 2 main live music stages, plus an electronic Mextronica stage, all set in the vibrant setting of this most life affirming of festivities.
From melodic mashups of Mexico and the UK’s finest bands and DJs to a death café for discussing your own mortality over tea and cake, you’re going to want to get down here early to explore everything that’s going on.
WHAT YOU’LL FIND AT TOBACCO DOCK
Bands across the oceans The UK and Mexico’s finest rock, post-punk, cumbia and electro-indie bands coming together on our 2 main stages with The Horrors, Savages, Crystal Fighters, Zoe, Mexrrissey & Erick Rincon amongst many more.
Street food to die for Spend lunchtime grazing round our market street food stalls, offering favourites from the Wahaca and DF/Mexico kitchens and bars – Festivals don’t get much tastier.
Holy smoke Discover a hidden Mezcaloteca offering tastings and a chance to take home some of Oaxaca’s famous smoky elixir, that mysterious cousin to tequila, Mezcal.
Market style Our underground Mexican market will be offering artisanal crafts for your perusal, bringing a taste of San Juan market from Mexico City to East London
Masked crusaders Yep. There’s going to be Lucha Libre – Masked wrestling, Mexican style. Not just a chance to watch, but for the adventurous, a chance to take part too.
Wapping INK La Roma & Depftord’s finest ink artists tattooing LIVE to preserve this day forever and ever.
Top grub If you were lucky enough to grab one of 120 tickets to attend Enrique Olvera (Whose Mexico City restaurant Pujol, is currently sitting at no. 16th in The World’s Best Restaurants) & Thomasina Miers’ supper club at the festival, expect the finest contemporary Mexican experience. If you’ve missed out on a seat at the chefs table, fear not. Enrique will be cooking up some of his signature tacos from his own taco stall throughout the evening.
Let it SHRINE Day of the Dead is all about remembrance, and setting up a shrine (ofrenda) to your dearest departed with food, flowers, personal possessions and candles is common in Mexico, and at the festival, expect to find 2 stunning ofrendas by artist Betsabe Romero and the Mexican London community remembering those who have died fighting for free speech.
A feast for the eyes There’s going to be art too with the Saatchi Gallery’s exhibition “Dead: A celebration of mortality” showcasing work which comments on the inescapable subjects of death, decay and mortality; alongside live street art from of Mexican political muralists Lapiztola who will bring their own comment on death and life to the festival.
Provocative talks In between the music and margaritas, join English PEN to get a real insight into Mexico’s cultural and literary scene with speakers like Diego Luna, DBC Pierre and Thomasina Miers in conversation with Enrique Olvera.
Find your spiritual home at La Casa Loca From silly dancing to Elvis Corpsely to Musical Bingo and thumb wrestling to taco battles, this will be the room to let yourself go into the uknown.
Support free speech 10% from the sale of all food and drink at the festival, will be donated to Periodistas de a Pie, a charity helping Mexican journalists in danger fighting for freedom of speech. The more you eat, the more you’re helping this incredible cause.
At the heart of Wahaca’s Day of the Dead Festival is a lofty ambition, fuelled by an awareness of a perceived defect in much of UK society. It’s their belief that here, we live in an age that is repulsed by death, we fear the pain of remembrance and clad it in stiff ceremony and we don’t create enough opportunities to honour those who came before us.
We are becoming more and more obsessed with the future and detached from our past. Meanwhile in Latin American, and specifically, Mexican culture, death is celebrated as an occasion to remember and honour friends and family who have gone before us. Wahaca’s Day of the Dead festival is a chance to bring some of that vibrant celebration to life on the biggest scale the UK has ever seen. We’ll raise a glass to that.
Can you think of anything better than a day of tequila and mezcal?
A day of meeting the producers of the finest mezcales and tequilas from across Mexico, masterclasses by some the UK’s most renowned bar-tenders, Mexican music, and delicious market food including a pop up by our very own DF/Mexico Diner serving delicious New York tortas to stop you from getting silly borracho.
2015 is the year of Mexico in the UK and the UK in Mexico, and to celebrate Tequila and Mezcal aficionados can sip their way through an exclusive collection of these two traditional Mexican beverages. Born with one objective, Tequila and Mezcal Fest on the 19th and 20th of September, aims to educate consumers on how to drink and enjoy Mexico’s greatest export – salt and lime will be banned at the door along with novelty sombreros: this is a sipping only zone.
To buy tickets for just £15 in advance click here.
How did it change from a hot summer to sharp autumn? Don’t worry… we have some fab suggestions to keep the Mexican heat going this September:
PARTY: Mexican Independence Day FIesta, 15th of September 7-11pm, Wahaca Soho’s Azuluito Bar. FREE
Every 15th of September Mexico takes on to the streets to party and celebrate independence with street food and tequila, do we need to say more?
ART: Shaped in Mexico, 4th to 12th of September. Bargehouse, Oxo Tower, London FREE
Returning to London for its second edition, presents a contemporary art exhibition that brings together over 150 works by 32 international artists working across painting, drawing, video, photography, performance, sculpture, and installation in an exploration into contemporary art from, and influenced by, Mexico.
The first Wahaca in the North of England opens in Manchester on the 10th of September and our cheeky little brother DF/Mexico hits Noho in London on 17th of September with the tastiest NYC tortas, tacos and boards in town.,
TEQUILA & MEZCAL: Tequila & Mezcal Fest 2015, 19th and 20th of September, Spitafields Market, London. £15
Love Tequila? here is your chance to learn and try tequilas from across Mexico, talk to producers, take a masterclass and grab a bite of Mexican food.
FILM: Raindance Film Festival, 23rd September- 4th of October. London
Raindance Film Festival, the largest independent film festival in Europe, once again presents outstanding Mexican cinema this year with 7 feature films and 3 shorts. Another Mexican highlight is the masterclass by acclaimed Mexican screenwriter (21 grams, Amores Perros, Babel) Guillermo Arriaga. Wahaca is a proud partner of Raindance.
This year, we’re hosting a 12 hour party bringing together the best Mexican and British creative talent, for an explosion of Mexican life at London’s immense Tobacco Dock on November 7th.
Tickets are now on sale right here:
There’s going to be a cross-border musical mash-up. From the UK we’ve got The Horrors and Crystal Fighters booked to play our main stage, where they’ll be joined by amongst others epic Mexican super-group, Mexrrissey and Grammy award winning multi-platinum rock heroes Zoe, and there’s more acts to be released soon…
There’s going to be world-beating Food. Enrique Olvera, probably Mexico’s most prominent chef, and whose restaurant Pujol is ranked in the top 20 in the world, is flying over to cook a supper club with our very own Thomasina Miers, for those lucky enough to grab a supper club ticket when they’re released later in the summer. For those who like to graze, the historic atria of The Tobacco Docks will feature stalls serving Mexican market tacos, contemporary tortas, smoky barbacoa, roasted elotes and fresh churros. Mexican hot chocolate salons will revive the spirits, and tequila and mezcal bars will serve them.
There’s going to be art and debate. In partnership with the Saatchi Gallery and Mexico’s Rodrigo Peñafiel, the festival will take you on a journey through an extraordinary exhibit of Mexican and British art, celebrating life and death whilst English PEN, the global charity for literature and freedom of expression, will host a daytime talks stage to explore the issues affecting the Mexican state, its people and culture that inspire so many of us today. The fiesta will support the charity Periodistas de a Pie, which works to defend the rights of journalists and protect freedom of expression in Mexico.
As the sun sets, the music will get louder, and the fiesta more transcendent. UK and Mexican DJs including Mad Decent’s Toy Selectah, and making his UK debut, Erick Rincon of “3ball Mty” (Tribal Monterrey) will bring the uniquely hedonistic sound of Mextronica to the Capital.
Wrap all this in immersive theatre, eating, drinking and dancing and you’ve got yourself a sensory spectacle with soul.
Not one to miss out on.