The Mercury’s Tacos ‘n’ Tequila—TNT—event is less than two weeks away, on Saturday, June 28th at Mississippi Studios. If you haven’t noticed, move your lazy little eyeballs like a fraction of an inch and look at an ad for it. Then click it, because you love tacos and tequila and the Mercury.
If you need more convincing, a preview of the event’s outlandishly delicious tacos and cocktails will be smack dab in the middle of tomorrow’s Mercury. If you need even more convincing, and need it now, here’s a preview of that preview of the cocktails and the fabulous bartenders who will make them.
Blair Reynolds: We’re asking this veteran Tiki bartender (owner of both Tiki bar Hale Pele and Tiki syrup company BG Reynolds) to put the rum down for a minute and play with some tequila. Specifically, Justin Timberlake’s own brand of Sauza silver tequila, 901. Blair says it won’t be hard, because tequila’s recent resurgence in the cocktail world reminds him of rum: “They’re both part of the same wild frontier.” He says there’s “some kind of magic” in the Caribbean, and it has an analogue in Jalisco.
Emily Mistell: Emily may head the bar at Rum Club, but that doesn’t mean she’s ever far from a bottle of tequila. Like many of our TNT bartenders, Emily reached out to a friend from the cocktail scene for a little R&D help. That friend is Sean Hoard, who, if you’re a drinker, you may know from Teardrop; or if you’re a bartender, you may know him from Commissary, where you source your fresh fruit juice and other cocktail supplies. Sean and Emily are working on a fresh, juicy, but “more vegetal” tequila cocktail.
Jacob Grier: Once the brains behind the stick at Metrovino, The Hop & Vine, and Expatriate, Jacob is more man-about-town than locked-down full-time bartender these days. He spends his time writing about cocktails on his blog or in his upcoming book, Cocktails on Tap; guest bartending around the city, country, and world (the idea for his TNT cocktail came from a trip to Sri Lanka); and performing street magic. Yeah, street magic. Expect a show at TNT from Jacob, who taps colleague KJ DeBoer (of Fish Sauce) as either barback or lovely assistant, depending on how you look at things.
Lydia Reissmueller: If you’ve noticed the uptick in quality drinks at Portland Meadows recently, had an event catered by Tender Bar, or you ever enjoyed an imaginative cocktail in the now-defunct downtown speakeasy Central, you’re familiar with the wonderful things Lydia does for a tippler. Now, Lydia and partner Elizabeth McElligott are in the cold pressed juice game with Pure Simple Juice, preparing to provide flavorful and nutritious juice to the masses—but first, some of that juice will show up at TNT.
If that's not enough, remember that each of these cocktails will alternate with a taco from one of the city’s great taco purveyors: Xico, Mi Mero Mole, La Taq, and Bunk! And if music is what gets you going, there will be music from Tiburones and a Portland supergroup I suspect built their catalog around their brilliant band name: War ‘n’ Buffett—a Jimmy Buffett and War mash-up!
So get your taco hat and your tequila pants and your dancing shoes on! (I honestly have no idea if you can dance to Jimmy Buffett and War mash-ups.) And check out the Mercury tomorrow for more on the bartenders and their cocktails, as well as Chris Onstad's preview of the taco side of TNT.