Tequila Time! Oyamel's Booze-And-Bites Fest Is Almost Here

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If you're anything like us, all this sunshine and spring-y weather has you itching to sneak out of the office a bit early and head to happy hour with friends. Luckily, Penn Quarter hotspot Oyamel Cocina Mexicana knows just what we're thinking, and will launch its annual tequila and mezcal festival on Monday to sate our warm-weather cravings with south-of-the-border flair.
Inspired particularly by the famed flavors of the Oaxaca region of Mexico, the festival includes special dishes and drinks only available for two weeks in March. We particularly love mixologist Joe Cleveland's High Tea cocktail, a creative mix of aged mezcal, tea, St. Germain, tobacco bitters, and chocolate ice that infuses the drink with bittersweet cocoa as it melts. To nibble alongside, perhaps some chayotes quisados con salsa jitomate — sauteed squash with cauliflower and chard, cooked (fittingly) with tequila, and topped with smoky salsa. Slip over to Oyamel between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. during the week to sample complimentary tequilas and mezcals at the bar, or stick around for special tasting dinners held throughout the festival. Whatever you do, try to resist the temptation to order a standard margarita — though, if a margarita is really what you want, we hear owner and executive chef José Andrés orders the classic "salt air" version made with a spicy mezcal instead of the traditional blanco tequila. Now, that's what we call an insider tip.
When: Monday, March 5th, through Sunday, March 18th
Where: Oyamel Cocina Mexicana, 401 7th Street NW; 202-628-1005.
Photo: Courtesy Oyamel/Pablo de Loy
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