“Tequila… it makes me happy. Con Tequila it feels fine. Con Tequila when the doors are opened. And con Tequila when they’re calling time”. So sang the English rock band, Terrovision, back in 1999. Fast forward 15 years and the message remains the same: tequila – sprouting from the blue agave plant in Jalisco, Mexico – is a good time (owing to its 40 per cent alcohol content) drink. Here at Haute Time we never need an excuse for a tequila (whose A-list advocates include Messieurs Clooney and Timberlake) or two, so you can be sure that we’ll be celebrating National Tequila Day today (24 July). Here’s the lowdown on the spots where you’ll find us grabbing a lime, some salt and saying salud. Just don’t forget the saying: One tequila, two tequila, three tequila… floor
La Bodega Negra
Don’t be fooled by the neon sign outside which reads ‘sex shop’. Once inside Will Ricker's dark, basement bar cum restaurant, you’ll find a welcoming little slice of Mexico in the heart of Soho. The cooking is competent - we’ve enjoyed Pollo al sarten (half roasted chicken, pumpkin seed mole and roast potatoes), the quinoa salad and various tacos and tostadas. However food isn’t the reason you head to this so hip it hurts speak-easy. You come here to preen and be seen, for the party like atmosphere, the charismatic staff who seem as happy to be there as you - and of course the tequila temptations...
16 Moor Street, W1D
Peyote, will celebrate National Tequila Day with a talk from Isis E. Ramirez, founder of Casa Ambar, an authentic Mexican family-owned company. Starting at 6pm guests will be briefed on the history of tequila drinking, introduced to the concept of tequila tasting and talked through the various Ambar Tequilas. Eight signature dishes matching four Ambar tequilas will be available following the talk and throughout the evening for £75 for one night only. For the first course, Peyote’s signature guacamole (served with queso fresco and corn chips) and prawn ceviche will be paired with Amber Blanco, an un-barrelled silver tequila. A Mexican take on a fish course of salmon laminados and tuna tostados will come with Ambar Reposado, a soft golden 6-month aged tequila. Pork al pastor tacos and cheese and carmalised onion quesadillas are matched with Ambar Anejo, which has been aged for 18-months in casks to result in a dark good-wood tone. A main course of lamb cutlets with mint habenaro salsa and brocollini is served with the crown jewel of the flight, Ambar Extra Anejo, tequila aged for up-to four years. To finish, a refreshing dessert of sorbet will be served. Peyote will also mark the occasion by launching a range of its own house infused tequilas, blended and flavoured with cucumber and coriander, caramel popcorn, raspberry, chilli and chocolate and burnt orange..
13 Cork Street, Mayfair, W1S
The salubrious Taqueria is fast becoming Haute Time’s top choice for Mexican fare in London. To drink, you’ll find an extensive list of tequilas as well Mexican beer and some killer cocktails. Meanwhile food consists of generous portions of Mexican staples – think quesadillas and refried beans – that are worth any wait involved. Ditch the diet and finish with the Platanos con cajeta – fried plantain, ice cream, cajeta (goats milk toffee) and toasted almonds. Staff are pleasant and easy going, and there’s also a small selection of Mexican goods - we love the habanero hot sauce - for sale at the entrance.
139-143 Westbourne Grove, W1
Tequila is traditionally associated with with sombreros, slammers and spring breakers but Sloane Square’s Tonteria - the Mexican themed venue from Guy Pelly (a pal of Princes William and Harry and the man behind Mahiki and Misty Whist) - is a mich more upmarket affair. There’s a tequila list as thick as the bible but the Reserva del Alma comes recommended. The Reserva del Alma is rare (only two bottles remain in the world) with a price tag (£5000) as high as the Shard so you’ll definitely won’t want to down it. If tequila isn’t your tipple of choice, panic not. The cocktail list covers the classics (margaritas, mojitos et al) as well as novelties like the frozen Tonte Passion Margarita, all of which help get the party going. Bring your dancing shoes: DJs fire up the dance floor as the night draws on and after, a few too many tequila shots, will have you chanelling Carlos Santana.
7-12 Sloane Square, SW1