Typically, if you want to drink 100+ tequilas, you might have to take a trip to Mexico. At Painted Burro in Davis Square, you can do so without leaving the city — and then take the trip to Mexico anyway. That's one of the prizes guests can drink their way toward in their new Agave Club program. Guests are given a checklist of 100 tequilas and mezcals (they have about 150 total), and the bar keeps track as you drink through them all. 25 gets you a home margarita kit, 50 a four course dinner for two with mezcal pairings, and 100 is roundtrip airfare to Cancun. Of course it might just be cheaper to go ahead and buy the tickets yourself, but if you're already going to be drinking anyway, you might as well put it towards something.
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“We have a lot of regulars that are frequently trying and tasting a lot of the tequilas, and we thought it would be the right thing to do to recognize their loyal patronage and give something back to the guests,” director of operations Alec Riveros says.
The restaurant, which expanded into a second room about a year and a half ago with a much larger bar (the owners will open Rosebud American Kitchen & Bar at the former space of the Rosebud Diner next door later this month), has its fair share of guests curious about the broad range of styles when it comes to agave spirits. “It's a very nuanced spirit, and the tequila itself draws a lot of flavor from where the agave was sourced from, highlands or lowlands, depending on region in Jalisco or Tequila, and also the aging and type of barrel,” Riveros says.
Speaking of barrel aging, they're offering tequilas at the moment made by Corazon that have been aged in a variety of different whiskey barrels. The Corazon Expresiones Sazerac rye anejo is one worth trying with its high rye spice and peppery notes. Another featured tequila, also from Corazon, is a barrel they hand selected, unique to Painted Burro. It's a reposado aged in Canadian oak for 8 months. “As tequila ages you start to lose some of the bright peppery quality you get when it's young,” Riveros says. “You start to pick up some secondary flavors, a real balance of roasted caramel.” And plenty of roasted pear to my taste.
Also worth noting are the Casamigos reposado, with its floral, nutty, aromatic qualities, and the DeLeon Diamante blanco, with a sharper citrus approach. Best of all, and one of my favorite tequilas I've had in a while, was the Chinaco anejo. It's a viscous sip of bright orange citrus, and, coming from the northeastern coastal region of Tamaulipas mexico, it's got a ton of salinity from the ocean air.
You know what else is on the ocean in Mexico? Cancun. You better get drinking.
If you go
The Painted Burro
219 Elm St., Somerville