By Jamie Swinnerton
By Mark Antonation
By Lori Midson
By Jonathan Shikes
By Amber Taufen
By Cafe Society
By Juliet Wittman
By Jonathan Shikes
The over/under time on me passing out at the bar or simply disappearing and cabbing home without saying goodbye to anyone (a favorite move of mine that one buddy calls "smokebombing") is apparently 7:30 p.m. Currently, it's 5:30 p.m., and I've only been bellied up at Lola with pints of Dos Equis Amber for fifteen minutes. I'm (obviously) taking the over on myself — I can drink forever! Nothing can stop me! — but I'm the only one. Four other friends predict disaster, bet the under. They might be on to something.
The tank primed with a couple of Ambers, I shift into mezcal mode, asking my extremely accommodating bartender for side-by-side tasters of mezcal and blanco tequila. He brings Del Maguey Chichicapa ($10) and Herencia Mexicana ($9). For all my adoration of blue agave, I've actually never had mezcal. Honestly, I may never have it again. The Del Maguey tastes like a charred log. The Scorpion Silver ($8) that comes next is even smokier, and the Illegal Reposado ($12) that rounds out my mini-tour is the fieriest of all. The Hacienda de Chihuahua sotol ($7), a distant cousin of tequila and mezcal, is subtler but still fire-roasted. Listen: I love wood-burning fires more than the next guy, but in my mouth? Not so much.
The Herencia blanco tequila from my original pair, however, has a nice creamy character, so I ask the 'tender for more of the same. He brings me the Herencia reposado ($10), which, having rested in oak barrels for two to twelve months, almost has a vanilla flavor. At this point, my belly through my throat and up into my cheeks is warm, swirly. My friends see my early demise as an inevitability and tease me about it.
I downshift again, this time over to the cocktail menu. With another Amber arrives a taster of the Herencia añejo ($11), a Paloma (Hacienda Vieja reposado and grapefruit), a Fuego Verde (Corazón blanco with muddled jalapeño, cilantro and agave nectar) and a water. It's absolutely an inappropriate number of drinks in front of a single person, but I'm going for broke tonight, so whatever. I work my way through all of them, especially enjoying the Fuego, which scorches my esophagus in a really good way.
My penultimate taster of tequila comes close to 7 p.m. in the Herencia gran añejo ($15), the final flavor in the family, aged over three years — a long time for tequila. It's the best by far, but I'm completely spoiled rotten by what follows: an ounce or so of 1921 Crema ($8), a tequila liqueur that tastes like the love child of Jose Cuervo and Baileys. Super om nom and a great way to close out my adventure through a hundred bucks of tequila.
For the record, the over was the best bet: I continued to drink Ambers well past 7:30 p.m. Hell, it might even have been 8.
I can drink forever! Nothing can stop me!