Rick Bayless is known for introducing Chicago and the country to authentic Mexican cuisine. Through his restaurants and his shows, he’s changed the perception from dishes including processed cheese and dollops of sour cream to complex creations involving a myriad of spices and flavors. Tres Generaciones wants to do the same thing with tequila, so it was fitting that last night’s dinner was at Bayless’ Frontera Grill.
“Tequila Ambassador” Jaime Rodriguez led a group of about 20 local influencers through an extensive tasting. We began the evening with a choice of cocktails, but most of us chose the Blue Agave margarita. There’s still a perception that tequila will get you drunk just by looking at it, so many of us tried to fill up on guacomole and house-made chips. Like any other spirit, though, it’s the quantity that gets you, and it almost seemed like they were out to get us!
As we sat down for dinner we were presented with a straight pour of Tres Generaciones Plata Tequila, and then another Blue Agave. As we sampled the Ceviche Yucateco (shrimp & calamari with lime, orange, habanero, avocado, jicama and cilantro) Jaime also had us sample the Plata. He explained that the clear liquor can be used in cocktails just like vodka.
Our entree course was served with a pour of Reposado, which means rested. It had a darker color because, just like bourbon and scotch, it’s aged in wood barrels. That was used in a Macho Mojito, a tequila- and sangrita-based version of the popular rum drink that tasted very similar to a Bloody Mary. For dinner we were given a choice of Pollo en Salsa Roja (chicken), Pez Espada Picosa (swordfish), or Carne a las Brasas (steak). I didn’t see any chicken at our table, but the swordfish and steak both had a pretty strong kick. They were almost too hot – but just almost, and not enough so that everyone was using their mojitos to cool down their palates.
By the time we were served the Anejo straight, the Tres Leches cocktail, and the “Tres Leches” butter pecan cake, we had a new appreciation for the spirit. Despite the fact that I now had four drinks in front of me, I felt neither woosy nor the sudden desire to sing karaoke, both frequently attributed to tequila.
Jaime’s job as Tequila Ambassador is to travel the world and not only lessen the perception of tequila as a make-you-do-things-you’ll-probably-regret shot that’s always accompanied by beer or blended with margarita mix, but to also increase the appreciation of the spirit as a complex and varied liquor with an honorable, dignified past. From what I can tell it seems to be working. I’d attended a similar dinner in January and the crowd last night seemed to be much more open to tequila’s variety.
To that I say, Cheers!
1 1/4 oz Tres Generaciones Plata Tequila
1 1/4 oz Cointreau
1 1/4 oz Lime Juice
Please ingredients in shaker and shake vigorously for 15 seconds. Garnish with lime wedge.
2 oz Tres Generaciones Reposado Tequila
1 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Simple Syrup
2 oz Sangrita Mix
1 Sprig Cilantro
Muddle cilantro, add all ingredients to glass, fill with ice and top with soda. Garnish with lime wedge.
1 1/2 oz Tres Generaciones Añejo Tequila
1 oz Gran Torres Orange Liqueur
1 1/2 oz Condensed Milk
Place all incredients in shaker, shake vigorously for 15 seconds. Pour drink and sprinkle cinnamon on top.