Here's a dangerous lesson for a blogger to learn: Rant and ye shall receive.
Last week, I devoted my Reviewing the Review column to my rather strong feelings about restaurants and bars which stock esoteric liquors but don't bothering explaining them to patrons. I even enlisted our graphic designer to mock up a few ways restaurants could repair their spirits lists to assist drinkers understandably flummoxed by the differences between mezcals produced at different altitudes.
So it only seems fair to temper my complaints with recognition for Poquitos, which this week introduced a Latin spirits sampling program that gives patrons a chance to learn about what they're drinking. The Capitol Hill restaurant is now offering more than a dozen three-spirit flights, priced at $12-$16, paired with tasting and production notes. "Our guests have proven that they have more than just a passing interest in our selection of tequilas and other Latin spirits," managing partner Rich Fox is quoted as saying in a release announcing the flight menu.
Here's the explanatory card which accompanies a terroir flight, which helps drinkers link flavor to the unique characteristics of Mexican soil in various regions:
For someone whose tequila career has consisted of meetings with Jose Cuervo and Don Julio, it's incredibly useful to learn how to distinguish between strong agave, woody agave and sweet agave notes. A drinker should walk away from a tequila session with more than an incipient hangover: Poquitos deserves credit for educating its customers - and will no doubt receive positive reinforcement in the form of bigger bar tabs.
While the popularity of Mexican food continues to increase, with eight out of 10 adults reporting they "like to try Mexican flavors," tequila flights are still relative rarities. Many restaurants which offer the option, such as the Dallas-based Cantina Laredo chain, prompt customers to create their own groupings. Other tequila bars have focused on flight presentation, burrowing shot glasses in ice and pairing the spirit with different spices and acids. While ice and oranges sound lovely, I'd rather have the opportunity to sample three single village mezcals side-by-side. Gracias, Poquitos.