Looking to drink tequila on Tuesday but also avoid the Cinco de Mayo crowds and those pitchers of watered down neon green garbage margaritas? Same here so I invented #TequilaTourCLT, a five-stop no-driving (not by me, anyway) tequila tasting trail built by design to skip all the madness and go straight for the goods: high-octane handcrafted tequila cocktails. Somehow I convinced my friend Brittany to go with me Saturday night to test it out. Here’s how it went down…
- Drinks must contain tequila
- Drinks must not be called margaritas
- No driving
- Yes eating
- Tip your bartenders
We met up at 6pm with my boyfriend asking me what time I’d be home for dinner as if this wouldn’t take the entire night. (It did.) Here’s what I looked like before and after 6 hours of drinking fancy tequila.
On with the tour…
- Location: 1601 Elizabeth Ave
- Arrival: Dropped off by Brittany’s husband and daughter like schoolchildren
- Drink: Ginger Devil – El Jimador silver tequila, serrano agave syrup, Reed’s extra ginger brew, Chambord, lime
- Notes: Drink is perfect–not too sweet, not too tart. Perfect. A little too easy to drink considering there are four more to go. Tell the bartender about our ambitious plan for the night. She thinks we’re insane. Informs us the Gold Rush bus we were planning to take Uptown doesn’t run on the weekends. Plan B: rent bikes.
- Departure: Rent B-cycle bikes to ride Uptown (don’t try this at home)
My public transportation miscalculation that necessitated the bike rental ended up being one of my favorite parts of the night, but I have to point out that we irresponsibly rode without helmets (because we didn’t bring them) and I would never ever recommend cycling without a helmet. It’s horrible idea and I have some of my most horrible ideas when on a tequila tour apparently.
- Location: 127 N Tryon
- Arrival: On bikes in heels like lunatics. Docked B-cycles at 7th St. Public Market and walked. B-cycles can only be out in 30-minute increments so the clock was ticking and we were highly stressed. Thighs burning from uphill ride
- Drink: The Viper – Patron silver, orange liquer, lime juice, cucumber water, cayenne pepper
- Notes: This one is tough to drink. It tastes like straight up tequila to me. Possibly just dehydrated from the 2-mile ride. Brittany crushes it.
- Departure: Walk to The Ritz (where The Punch Room is located)
- Location: 201 E. Trade Street
- Arrival: On foot like we own the place even though we got in the wrong elevator
- Drink: Fiesta Punch – Tequila, Cilantro, Jalapeño, Beet Ginger Kombucha, Orange, Lime
- Notes: Like fancy grownup KoolAid. Could drink all day. Asked for water and they brought us bottles of Fiji and I was like, “Nope not paying for it” and it turns out it’s free because this is The Ritz and the tap water is actually endless bottles of Fiji. Celebrity bartender Bob Peters comes out to say hey and delivers a special off-menu vanilla infused tequila Manhattan that he explains he smoked like a salmon and I don’t even know what’s happening anymore. HOLY CRAP.
- Departure: Walk to Fahrenheit
- Location: 222 S. Caldwell
- Arrival: On foot complaining about the cold. Should’ve brought jackets. It’s probably 70 degrees.
- Drink: Pin the Tail – cilantro & jalapeno infused tequila, blackberry, ginger beer, lime
- Notes: This drink is incredible but let’s be honest… we’re here for dinner. Order a margherita pizza and destroy the entire thing. So pleased with ourselves. Pizza was such a good choice.
- Departure: Uber. (My original plan in the detailed itinerary I sent to Brittany included a bus ride here–“Bring $2.20 CASH”–but she vetoed it.)
Contrary to what this tequila tour might imply, I really don’t ever drink. I’m serious. I have maybe 4-6 drinks a month so 4-6 drinks in a night is just a whole lot more going on than my liver cares to deal with. This pizza saved my life and I credit it with my ability to make it to the last stop.
(5) Heist Brewery
- Location: 2909 North Davidson
- Arrival: Delightful Uber driver (probably because he’s making BANK on surge pricing right now)
- Drink: Paloma – Unfortunately, this is a new drink (not the Paloma de Pama currently on the menu online) and I failed to take a picture. I think it has vodka AND tequila though.
- Notes: Seriously can’t drink any more tequila at this point but this is really good. Had it been the first drink I would have chugged it. Bartender is awesome and gives us some pretzels.
- Departure: Brittany’s husband and baby pick us up at midnight
MADE IT. Smuggled an extra pretzel home too.
This was such an insanely fun night. Final rankings for favorite drinks:
- Winner! Customshop Ginger Devil
- Punch Room Fiesta Punch
- Fahrenheit Pin the Tail
- Heist Paloma
- 5Church The Viper
And here are Brittany’s field notes she took on her phone throughout the night…