I celebrated Cinco de Mayo long before I moved to Downtown Detroit—fine, I celebrated it before I was 21—but as I prepare for the festivities this weekend, I’m struck by the similarities between my luxury loft and Don Julio González. Yes. That Don Julio, the founder of Don Julio Tequila.
Don Julio had a vision when he began distilling his first tequila. He planted his agave further apart, so they had more room (which reminds me of my lofts’ design, where the units have unique layouts that provide plenty of room in each loft and there are fewer lofts per floor than in other buildings). Don Julio also put a great deal of attention and care into what happened to his tequila after he had distilled it. Rather than the typical tall bottle, which often had to be hidden under the table, he designed bottles attractive enough that they could be displayed on the table and, always taking into consideration the comfort of his guests, people could still see one another across the table. This too reminds me of the attention to detail that my lofts leasing office pays to our units and the care they show me and my fellow residents.
Another wonderful feature of my loft is its proximity to so many bars and eateries where I can celebrate Cinco de Mayo! And one of the bars that I love will be hosting a Don Julio Tequila Tasting on May 4th—McShane’s Pub & Whiskey Bar. Yes. McShane’s. An Irish pub. But, just like Detroit and its resurgence that has surprised so many and been so successful, wait until you see the Taqueria Grande Menu that Chef Lewis has put together for the tasting!
While there will be Don Julio representatives on hand to advise, here are my pairing recommendations:
What Cinco de Mayo celebration doesn’t begin with Chips and Salsa? But these are not the cupboard-and-container chips and salsa you’ll find in your own kitchen or pull out of your fridge. Chef Lewis will be putting out Fresh Fried Tri-Colored Tortilla Chips, served warm & crispy with a variety of Picante & Salsas. I would pair these with the Don Julio Blanco, the ‘Silver’ tequila from which all of their tequilas are derived. Double-distilled with hints of lemon, lime, and grapefruit, this Don Julio makes a great mixed drink. And by ‘drink,’ I mean Margaritas. And by ‘mixed,’ I mean lots of them. [Double-dipping is totally allowed on drinks!]
Next, you’re going to want to fill Chef Lewis’s Fresh Flour Tortillas with one of the delish fillings he will be dishing up.
I recommend starting with the Pollo Tinga, Seasoned Shredded Latin-Flavored Lime Chicken in a Slightly Spicy Marinade and pairing this with the Don Julio Reposado, with the citrus nose you expect from tequila, the added tastes of chocolate and cinnamon will pair perfectly with Chef Lewis’s Pollo Tinga! The caramel apple finish of this tequila will also lend itself to the pork and spice in Chef Lewis’s Carnitas, Pulled Pork Shoulder seasoned with Chili, Cumin & Garlic.
After that Chef Lewis’s Barbacoa, Shredded Roasted Spanish Beef BBQ-Cooked Low and Slow until Juicy & Tender will pair perfectly with Don Julio Añejo, which is aged for 18 months and has a honey finish that complement the beef. It will also prepare your palate for Chef Lewis’s Chorizo Sausages—zesty Ground Pork Sausage made with Garlic, Paprika & Chilis.
All of this is served with Fresh Flour Tortillas, Assorted Salsas, Picante & Guacamole, Fresh Tomato, Onions, Shredded Lettuce, Ripe Olives, Limes & Fresh Cilantro (and accompanied by their House Sharp Cheddar & Jack Cheese Blend, Queso Fresco & Chipotle Crème Fresh). And there are Sides aplenty (Roasted Black Beans & Corn, Roasted Red & Green Peppers with Onions, Spanish Rice, and Refried Beans)!
But you’re going to want to save room for Dessert.
But it doesn’t end there. Because the McShane’s celebration is on the 4th of May! And, along with the Live Entertainment by El Senor McManus, it will simply prepare you for Cinco de Mayo!
May the Fourth Be with You!