Tuesday night’s Mixologia event at Bolsa Mercado was the final nudge I needed to enjoy tequila. I have always claimed to be a whiskey man and vowed to endlessly abhor tequila, but I just could not stand by my promise that evening. I was excited to be invited as a guest along with several other local media to get a look at how a cocktail is born.
Juan Pablo, ambassador for Milagro Tequila Texas, taught us a thing or two. “Dallas is a gem for cocktails,” he told me. He went on to describe why he enjoyed Dallas and his favorite restaurants, but eventually circled to the purpose of the evening.
“I’m sure you didn’t come just to hear me talk about cocktails,” he said to the table.
We were given small recipe cards printed with the drinks we were going to make. Since I’ve never even slightly held a cocktail shaker, I wasn’t exactly juggling bottles at the table. I could barely keep ice in my glass.
The first two cocktails were created by Ian Reilly, bar manager of Chino Chinatown, a man who makes bitters. They were inspired by fall flavors, and chef Justo Blanco worked to provide dishes that complemented them.
First was the Aperitivo Estelar. The star anise’s very licorice flavor was a nice highlight. It was paired with a gulf red grouper. It had a bit of kick and I liked the pomegranate and blood orange featured in the dish.
Next was the Steal, Beg or Borrow. It had pumpkin syrup, which is a bit like honey. It was paired with a tenderloin.
Then we got to make our own. I was scared. I mixed apple butter, chocolate bitters, ginger beer, and the Milagro Anejo tequila. It sucked, basically. I drank it anyway. I’ll leave that to real bartenders. But it was fun!
We ate our creations with roast duck. It was awesome. Very tender and tasty with the blackberry reduction.
Thankfully, Bolsa Mercado provided coffee for us budding bartenders before we scurried off to tell the world of our adventures. I had a blast, and it was nice to discover that tequila and I aren’t sworn enemies after all.
Jake Austin Medina is a D Magazine intern and a journalism major at the University of North Texas.