One Tequila, Two Tequila, Three Tequila …


That’s when I stopped counting.

Five tequilas to taste (reposado, platinum, anejo, paradiso, anniversario).

El Tesoro Distillery celebrated its 70th anniversary SF-style this week, with parties at Tres Agaves, Cantina and Slanted Door. Carlos Camarena, who is the third-generation owner of El Tesoro and Master Distiller, came to present, sign and share the just-launched limited edition El Tesoro Anniversio tequila (dedicated to Carlos’ grandfather who built the distillery in 1877). Fittingly it was aged for seven years. El Tesoro’s claim to fame is that it’s the only 100% blue agave tequila that’s hand-crafted, double distilled at 80 proof and bottled without added water.

Carlos, owner of El Tesoro and Master Distiller.

I could only make it to the last event, which was at Slanted Door, but I caught up fast. As Carlos walked us through a tasting at our table, he used the analogy of a woman to explain the various tequilas. Turns out that while I probably identify with a Reposado (not much makeup and not that flashy), my palate preferred the Paradiso (think high fashion and dramatic makeup a la Gwen Stefani).

Our view.

Slanted Door is one of my favorites in SF. I’ve been a loyal eater of Charles Phan’s upscale Vietnamese food since its days in the Mission, but there’s no beating the views at this Ferry Building Marketplace locale. My dinner highlights included Japanese yellowtail with fried shallots and Thai basil, an heirloom tomato topped with green papaya, brick-oven roasted whole fish and che nuoc dua (a coconut custard) for dessert.

Of course the company was stellar, and I was certainly out of my league next to Carlos and his entourage of big-time SF bartenders and bar owners and perfectly palette-trained spirits writers and editors. All in all, I learned a few things and ate and drank well. You gotta love anniversaries!

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