The taco emoji’s still MIA, but the tequila countdown to Cinco de Mayo is ON.
With a bar stocked with over 50 tequilas, Mercado Santa Monica serves up Mexican realness everyday of the week. So, here’s our top five tequila pairing moves:
1. Clase Azul and Carnitas
Unanimously the most delicious tequila. When the iconic blue and white decanter hits the table, it’s party time. A complex reposado aged in sherry oak for eight months, this versatile tequila has notes of caramel. Be respectful, drink neat. The Carnitas are filled with slow-cooked pork, guacamole and a low-heat chile de arbol salsa. The sweetness of the tequila blends with the pork and cuts the fat. Cinco de Mayo never looked so tasty.
2. Feria de Jalisco and Enchiladas de Pollo en Mole Oaxaqueño
A new school, small-batch reposado aged in French oak. Smooth, balanced with minimal spice on the backend and a floral nose. Served straight from the black bottle into a glass. The chocolate mole and this floral tequila are two flavors that are meant to be together.
3. Ocho and Tamales with Salsa Verde
Like a fine scotch, terroir plays. From la magueyera, land of the agave, this single estate reposado is cultivated on the highlands of Jalisco. From cotton candy to green tobacco, it’s complex while soft on the palate. Note the smoke on the finish. Sip don’t shoot. The fresh, sweet masa and a hit of heat from the salsa verde in the tamales stand up to the complexity of Ocho. Fillings are chef’s choice and never disappoint. Available while they last.
4. Herencia Mexicana and Dos Gringas
Find this straightforward reposado at Mercado, or in Mexico. Aged in white oak, the toffee and vanilla tones are similar to the Clase Azul. A light spice with a smooth finale. Savor the authenticity. Sure, it’s the “white girl” order, but flour tortillas are bomb and Mercado’s pastor is not to be missed. Both tequila and tacos go down easy.
5. Fortaleza and Tostaditas de Ceviche Cuatro Mares
The only blanco to make our list. We round out with an agave forward, lowland tequila for a clean, mix-worthy spirit. Now that’s a margarita. Extra salt. Tequila blanco is meant to be eaten with bright food and the Tostaditas are a citrus-marinated, mango seafood fiesta.