Whiskey is out of the question. My father and my Beloved like it, but I got sick on cheap whiskey once (a few decades ago), and that ruined it for me forever. If I go to hell, the Devil will force me to drink cheap whiskey until I throw up. Again. And again. And again.
Gin tastes like gasoline (sorry, sister). Mixed drinks with rum can be yummy, but invariably, they’re sweet. Eh.
Vodka is OK with the right mixer, but if the mixer is what tastes good, then it’s not the vodka. Although I love a good Bloody Mary with a beer chaser.
It’s taken me three decades at legal drinking age to figure out I like savory mixed drinks better than sweet ones. Who says Bloody Marys are good only in the morning?
Then I read about mescal in the Chicago Tribune. Mescal (or mezcal) and tequila are both distilled from agave and when making agave, “the agave core is charred, usually in an open pit, lending a characteristic smokiness to the beverage.”
I learned to appreciate tequila in a tradition celebrated by my last corporate employer, a Texas-based food company that clearly valued the distinctive liquor made across the border. At the end of the annual convention show (which was an enormous undertaking requiring weeks of sacrifice), the staff backstage would do a tequila shot, complete with salt and fresh limes. Here’s to us. Yum.
So if tequila is good, mescal must be better, right?
My Beloved and I ran across a tequila bar (what a novel idea!), and I discovered the bar’s signature Mescalita, a divine mixed drink of mescal, fresh lime juice, cilantro and crushed grilled pineapple.
When I ordered a second one (yes, it was that good), I had the bartender salt the rim.