It was late at night, and the hotel bar was closed. Luckily, the cleaning crew was on call to keep the tequila flowing, so we sat and talked for hours about Mexico, about tequila, and about life. We were only one day away from the end of our “tequila vacation,” and there was much to talk about.
At the bottom of our shot glasses were little glass-blown figures that were almost always covered by tequila (thanks to the attentive cleaning crew.) My shot glass contained a Mexican flag, and Grover’s glass had a tiny blue agave plant. Every once in a while we’d be treated to one of our favorite mariachi songs playing quietly in the background through the hotel sound system.
I met Grover through my friend, Alexis. One evening I watched him slam a perfectly good shot of 100% agave tequila as if it were the same nasty stuff he drank in college, and encouraged him to slow down and taste it. He did, and he was hooked.
Soon after we found ourselves meeting up in tequila bars all across San Francisco, trying all of the tequilas we could get our hands on. Bar after bar, we talked about traveling to the Tequila region of Mexico, to visit the motherland of our bonding beverage. This would be our “tequila vacation.”
Two years later, we made that trip – as friends.
In January 2008, we stayed at the Quinta Don Jose Boutique Hotel, in Tlaquepaque, Mexico. This is located right in the center of Jalisco, the region of Mexico where tequila is made.
We were wrapping up our late night conversation in the hotel when we were suddenly interrupted, not by the cleaning crew, but by Grover himself.
“You just got to the flag,” he said, pointing to my shot glass. With my last sip, the level of tequila was now below the little glass-blown flag.
“Oh, I think this will have to be the last shot for me,” I responded, thinking he meant I was due for yet another refill.
“No, that’s not what I meant,” he said. “I promised myself that I would tell you something as soon as you got to the flag. And well, now you’re at the flag, so I have to tell you.”
“Oh, uh, OK,” I said nervously.
“I think you and I get along really well, and our friendship is really nice and easy and comfortable, and I think we should be more than friends,” he said. “We would make a really great couple and I am hoping that you’ll consider it.”
I was certainly not expecting that – but I was ready with five really good reasons why I was not a good match for anyone, and did my best to discourage him.
He didn’t buy into any of my reasons, and I really wasn’t sure if he was serious, or if it was the tequila talking.
“We’d make such a great couple, and we’d have the best relationship ever,” he said. “Trust me.”
When the plane touched down in San Francisco one day later, it marked the official end of our tequila vacation, but marked the beginning of our adventure as “boyfriend and girlfriend.”
Our first joint project was starting TasteTequila.com, a blog where we could share tequila musings and recommendations with the world. We knew that in doing so we would need to go back to Mexico and learn more about the history and culture of tequila and gather more content for the website.
We planned another trip to Guadalajara in April of 2009 and setup two days of tours with a local tequila consultant. Once again, we stayed at the Quinta Don Jose Boutique Hotel and on the last night of that trip, sitting just a few feet away from where he made his first confession in the hotel bar, Grover pulled out a ring and proposed.
Grover is known for not being able to keep things to himself. If he’s excited about something, everyone knows it. So I was completely taken by surprise. He had somehow managed to keep a straight face for several days.
By morning we had booked the entire hotel for a November wedding with a tequila theme. We would be married in the same spot where our relationship began and where he proposed.
Our Tequila Wedding
Now when most people think of a wedding they think of champagne—all bubbles and sweetness and pretty glasses perfect for toasts. We had something else in mind. We wanted to welcome our guests upon arrival in Tlaquepaque with the warm relaxation that comes after just a few sips of fine agave. We wanted them to share in the culture of Mexico, its fine food and drink, and to sit back and enjoy a lively mariachi band with a cabellito in hand, full of the sweet and potent spirit that soothes away aches and worries and restores one to life.
In short, we wanted tequila.
So we planned a welcome cocktail hour of margaritas and a reception dinner that would feature the finest tequila. We envisioned each table with its own bottle of the spirit – our favorite tequilas.
While we were preparing for the big event we wondered which brands of tequila we should have on hand. We made a list of all our favorites, and at the top of the list was a fantastic tequila called Dos Lunas, which is only sold for export outside of Mexico.
The añejo, which we keep stocked in our home bar, is rich and balanced but still retains a bright agave flavor. Dos Lunas would be a natural choice for the wedding since even non-regular tequila drinkers tend to like it, we thought, but we weren’t sure if we could get enough bottles down to Mexico.
Then we discovered that Dos Lunas is actually produced in Tlaquepaque by the Tequilas del Señor distillery, which Grover visited over the summer. He had made a few connections at the distillery and they were gracious enough to facilitate us getting 12 bottles of Dos Lunas for the reception – Dos Lunas Blanco, reposado and añejo – all tequilas you couldn’t normally get in Mexico. We were thrilled. We knew our guests would go crazy for it.
To carry the tequila theme even further, we wanted to show our guests where Dos Lunas was made, so we setup a tour of the Tequilas del Señor distillery the day after the wedding. We wanted our guests to learn about the history of tequila and how it was produced as well as sample the fine tequilas available in the tasting room. (Tequilas del Señor also makes Herencia de Plata and Herencia Historico, a special extra añejo they began bottling in 1997 to celebrate the year tequila received its denomination of origin., meaning that only 100% agave spirit produced in 5 states of Mexico can legally be called tequila.)
The Tequila Soaked Reception
We’re not sure how many bottles of blancos went into the margaritas at our welcome reception, but we were keeping track on the day of the wedding. We started the morning with 27 bottles of beautiful, pristine, delicious 100% agave tequila, thinking of course, that we’d leave any unconsumed bottles as a gift to the hotel bar, but by the end of the evening, after the dinner and the dancing, after the 1 a.m. taco cart run, there was not one bottle left.
That’s right—55 guests and 27 bottles of tequila in one evening! Now, keep in mind that not everyone was drinking tequila. Some people preferred wine or vodka and there was one pregnant guest who wasn’t drinking at all. But something quite amazing happened: many non-regular tequila drinkers found that they enjoyed sipping on tequila. They discovered the warm, happy high of a tequila buzz and not one person got sick from drinking tequila (you can attribute those sick-on–tequila college days to mixed tequilas like José Cuervo. In general, you do not get sick by drinking 100% agave tequila unless you mix it with a lot of sugar – blended margaritas – or go completely overboard.)
Our guests’ “tequila conversion” had to do with the fact that they were drinking very smooth and pleasing tequila such as Dos Lunas and that they had learned how to drink it properly.
At the welcome reception, our tequila consultant had kindly shown the guests how to taste tequila, what aromas and tastes to look for, and how to appreciate the flavor of agave. We also asked the hotel to whip up a batch of our favorite sangrita recipe as a tequila companion.
The Distillery tour
The next day, at the tequila friendly hour of 11:30 a.m., most of our guests were up and ready to take the distillery tour. Juan Bernardo Torres Mora, from the distillery’s public relations department, took them on a detailed and in-depth tour covering the history of tequila, the distillation process, and a primer on tasting tequilas. At the Tequilas del Señor tasting room our guests tried six different tequilas– the Herencia de Plata blanco, reposado and anejo, plus two flavored after dinner tequilas (almond and coffee) and the Herencia Historico 12 year extra añejo.
At the end of the tour, we were pleased to see that many of our guests purchased tequilas from the distillery to take home with them. (We helpfully reminded them that they could legally take home two bottles each and that tequila makes a great Christmas present!)
Maybe a tequila themed wedding isn’t right for everyone, but considering how many happy guests we had and how many new tequila admirers we created, we couldn’t imagine a better ending (and beginning!) to our tequila romance.