Described as a “mad genius,” Terralto Tequila Master Distiller Felipe Camarena is using his inventions “Igor” and “Frankenstein” to honor his family’s history and heritage of tequila making with technical innovations designed to increase sustainability, efficiency and produce the distinctive, award-winning flavor of Terralto tequila.
The tradition and culture of small batch craft tequila always appealed to El Gaucho Portland Bar Manager, Mark Joseph. When the aficionados of TequilaStarr, Mark Cook and Janna Lopez-Cook, shared Terralta tequila and the story behind it, he knew he had found a unique product worth showcasing. Mark invited Executive Chef Steve Cain to try it and the two were inspired to bring the Mark and Janna Cook to El Gaucho Portland for a special event on September 15th pairing signature tequila cocktails with a bold menu created to highlight the clean and flavorful nature of Terralta’s range.
Felipe Camarena comes from a long line of tequila makers in Jalisco, Mexico. He trained as a civil engineer, as well as working for most of his life in the family distillery, La Alteña. In 2011, he opened his own distillery, El Pandillo, featuring a collection of inventions that are built on time-honored principles, updated with innovative techniques and produce some of the world’s most incredible tequila. Inventions including Igor, an agave shredder, and Frankenstein, a mechanical replacement for the labor intensive “tahona process” of crushing the agave, as well as a rooftop rainwater collection system produce tequila that is clean and crisp and full of agave, spice and fruit. More information about Camarena’s inventions, the distillery and the range of tequilas is available here.
Both Chef Steve and Mark were inspired to highlight the nature of the varieties of Terralto tequila and remain true to the regional cuisines and flavors of the Jalisco region. They also love the challenge of creating a menu around a spirit, instead of wine. As Chef says, “When creating a menu for a spirits dinner, you have to really bring bold flavors to the table. Tequila is an interesting spirit to pair as it can be assertive or smooth. Terralta is so smooth and herbaceous that I wanted to showcase those attributes.”
Mark’s cocktail creations were based on the idea of classic cocktails that could be finessed to showcase Terralta Anejo, Blanco and Extra Anejo.
The first course features a warm goat cheese and chorizo croquette with a Fresno Chile membrillo sauce with garlic croustades. The sweet, salty and spicy flavors in this dish will pair with a twist on an Anejo Old Fashioned with sherry walnut bitters and orange peel.
The Albacore tuna, fresh herbs, pine nuts and papaya in the second course provide some fresh flavors to give some relief to the heat in the peppercorn infused “El Pandillo” Blanco cocktail.
Third course is a Certified Angus Beef filet with a Yucatán red chile sauce and served with “tacos dorados de papa” – Mexican street tacos filled with a potato filling. The complementary “Igor” cocktail features Terralta Blanco with muddled sugar, Bada Bing cherry, orange and whiskey bitters.
Dessert combines the flavors of toasted corn crepes and dulce de leche paired with the Frankenstein cocktail based on Anejo Tequila’s rich caramel overtones and Sambuca washed coffee beans.
This special evening has very limited seating and we recommend making reservations soon. Please call 971.544.2700.
Hosted by Mark Cook and Janna Lopez-Cook, tequila aficianados of TequilaStarr
Friday, September 15 at 6:30pm
$130/person plus 22% gratuity, valet is included