La Cava del Tequila: A Taste of Mexico

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On a bright sunny day in January, while President Barack Obama was finishing up a speech at the Magic Kingdom, I was on my way over to Epcot for an intimate tequila tasting at La Cava del Tequila.

Located inside of the gorgeous Mexico pavilion of the World Showcase, La Cava del Tequila is situated to the right as you first make your way into the large space overlooking the bustling Mexican marketplace.  While some might call the bar small, I call it intimate and quaint.  Visually, the place is stunning.  Dimmed fixtures hang above you as you situate yourself either up at the bar or in a seating arrangement of your choice.  The tables and chairs are richly colored and vibrant.  For those looking for a real place to relax with a drink, try and snag a spot on the comfy sofa.

On any normal visit to La Cava, I’m ordering margaritas with friends and watching other Disney park guests “woo hoo” at a tray of tequila shots being served to them.  But, this visit was quite different for me.  I was given the opportunity to sit in on a one-on-one tequila tasting with La Cava del Tequila’s very own Tequila Ambassador, Hilda.

When I entered the bar, I was greeted by the charming Hector who grabbed me a water and showed me to the back section of the bar where my tasting would be taking place.  A large table with many stemmed tequila tasting glasses were lined up and looked absolutely beautiful being lit by the candlelight.  Soon, I met both Hilda and Javier, a fellow tequila guru.  I’ve gotta admit, I was a little intimidated, overwhelmed, and unsure of what was to come, but, more than anything… I was excited!

Hilda introduced herself and then began to walk me along the colorful mural on a large wall of the bar.  The mural tells the very exquisite process of tequila making.  In the event that any of you ask to hear the story of tequila yourselves, I’m not going to ruin it for you because truly no one could tell it better than Hilda herself.  She has a passion for tequila that is so clear when she speaks.  Having grown up in Tequila, Mexico, Hilda experienced the harvesting process herself to gain better knowledge of what goes into making the very best tequila.  Around the bar, she showed me photos of  jimadors harvesting blue agave plants as well as the special tools that are used.  Already, I was gaining a better knowledge of tequila.  Why aren’t these classes offered in college?

Now for the moment you’re all waiting for… the tasting!  Hilda taught me all about the purpose of the sight, smell, and taste of tequila.  To accompany the different types of tequila, we smelled a lime peel, a cinnamon stick, and coffee beans which matched up to the different types of tequila we’d be trying.  Depending on where you smell the glass, you’ll note different scents given off by the tequila.

We started with Blanco, or silver tequila.  This tequila is unaged and very clear.  Next up was a more aged type of tequila called Reposado.  Finally, we tried the most aged variety, Anejo.  Hilda even busted out tequila’s cousin, Mezcal, which provided a different, more smokey taste.  Mezcal is well known by many for the wonderful scorpion sitting at the bottom of the bottle.  No, I did not try the scorpion.

Tequila tasting is complex and takes great concentration.  I should also point out that you should not be shooting these wonderfully made tequilas, you should be sipping them.  If you’re paying good money for good tequila, why do you want it gone so quickly with little time to really enjoy it?  Just because you CAN shoot it, doesn’t mean you should.

Not all tequila tastes the same and not everyone will like the same kinds.  Price is not important when it comes to “good” tequila.  As you become more educated about tequila and try different types, you’ll learn what you enjoy drinking and so for you, that will be good tequila.  While I tried a tequila in the $40 a shot price range, I actually preferred one that was just over $20.  There is no right or wrong… it’s all about what you like.  If you’re a newbie to the tequila world, La Cava del Tequila offers a wonderful tequila flight so you can educate yourself on what type you prefer to enjoy.  Feel free to ask any of the bartenders working to guide you in the right direction.  They’d be happy to recommend something to suit you.

La Cava del Tequila also offers a wide variety of margaritas.  While I’d tried the majority of the margarita offerings on previous trips to the bar, Hilda brought out three that I hadn’t tasted before.  I was most apprehensive about the Jalapeno Margarita because I thought it would be packing too much heat.  I was wrong!  It was so delicious and competes with my previous favorite, the ever popular Avocado Margarita.  Not sure what margarita you want to try?  No problem!  Order a Margarita Flight!

If you’re needing a bite to eat, try one of the bar’s appetizer sized offerings.  My personal favorite is the absolutely perfect Guacamole and Chips.  I could live off of this stuff.  If you don’t want tequila, margaritas, or food, you can find wine, freshly made sangria, and a variety of Mexican beer.  Might I suggest Dos Equis Amber?

The bar gets pretty packed later on in the day as well as on weekends when locals like to come out to play.  If you’re really wanting a seat, try and go during an off-time of the day.  Once the place does fill up and you find yourself desiring a quick drink, elbow your way up to the bar and get a margarita to go.

During the fall, Hilda hosts tastings as a part of the International Food & Wine Festival.  If you’ve gotten tickets to this event before, be aware that Hilda is planning something a little new and different for 2012 so repeat guests can get a different experience than before.  The tequila tasting events fill up quickly so reserve your spot as soon as you can.

If you follow the bar on Twitter (@CavadelTequila), you’ll be given some great deals for proving your loyalty.  A $5 tequila shot, free chips and salsa, and margarita specials every Monday.  While you’re at it, be sure to follow Hilda, @TequilatoTaste, on Twitter as well.  She frequently posts insight on many of the tequilas offered at La Cava.

I’d like to thank Hilda, Javier, Hector, and the rest of the staff at La Cava del Tequila for making my experience so wonderful.  The best staff in Disney World is found at La Cava.  I’m convinced that they all love their job and have an honest passion for what they do.

Have any of you out there experienced a tasting at La Cava del Tequila or taken a break from the crowds and enjoyed a drink at this little hideaway?  Let us know in the comment section below!

 

 

 

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Posted on February 2, 2012

6 Responses to “La Cava del Tequila: A Taste of Mexico”

  • I would love to learn more about tequila! I have always preferred it – even to sip and savour – to other connoisseur drinks like whisky and brandy.

    I was wondering – do you have to be over 21 to enter La Cava?

  • by Matt New York on February 2, 2012, at 4:49 pm EDT

    Great tips Stacey!! Heaven on Earth! I love that place and stop there every month on my trip to Orlando. As luck would have it, my boss loves tequila and I am racking up the brownie points when I take him!
    I will definitely try the Margarita flight and the guac.

  • No! Don’t tell anyone else about our favorite place to spend an hour or so in Epcot… I won’t find a place at the bar anymore :)

    Love Cava. The service is fantastic and the margaritas are top notch. The sangrita is a great way to taste the tequilas as well, allowing you to really appreciate the nuance and flavor of each region.

    Yeah. I like tequila.

  • Visited with my Son-in-Law on our last trip with them, and it’s a really nice addition to Epcot’s World Showcase!

  • I try to visit La Cava every time I’m at WDW. They’ve greatly expanded my appreciation of tequila.

    When La Cava first opened, they had three different tequila flights. I’m disappointed that they only offer one flight now.

  • by Matt New York on February 17, 2012, at 9:16 am EDT

    I went to La Cava to try out the Margarita Flight. At first, they said they could not make it. I told them I read about it in your blog and right away I had my Flight!! You are obviously a Rock Star at La Cava! We had a great time and the 4 of us racked up over $200 worth of tequila. The 1942 Don Julio was 28 per shot so it only took a few of those to rack up good tab :)

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