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Fine dining gets a nice bite from tequila pairings

Tequila may have made a few hundred appearances in MTV’s "Spring Break: Cancun."  

But, it's no longer merely the drink of choice to get college co-ed's as blotto as possible.  Increasingly, tequila is showing up more on the drinks menu at white table cloth restaurants, and providing the perfect accompaniment to an expertly prepared meal.

“No liquor has hit the market like tequila,” says Diego Amigo, director of food and beverage at the Coronado Country Club in El Paso, Tex.

With so many tequilas on the shelves – over 1,000 brands – Amigo says more people are pairing up fine foods with the Mexican liquor, similar to food and wine matching. “You can pair them with just about anything.”

“Each company has a different stamp of what they put in (tequila), kind of like a wine,” says Amigo. “They’re all going to taste very different and they’re all going to appeal to a different market.”

It’s not proper to take a shot of tequila followed a whole meal. Amigo says it’s best to start with a little smell of the tequila. Take a small sip before you start your meal and enjoy the shot (or two) all the way through. It allows one to match the tastes of the food with the unique aromas in the tequila.

Amigo took FoxNews.com through some tastes and recommended some moderate to high-end tequilas that match up best with some delicious gourmet meals.

1 – Mexican Shrimp Cocktail with Don Julio Blanco

A Mexican Shrimp Cocktail with fresh cucumber, fresh jalapenos, onions, avocado, cilantro, Clamato, tomato juice, and lime. “It’s a nice melting pot of all of the flavors of Mexico.” Amigo says Don Julio Blanco is a great match because “it’s very young, light, flavorful, (and) spicy.” The tequila goes down very smoothly and the spiciness of the tequila is neutralized with the spiciness of the shrimp cocktail. 

2 - Ahí Tuna Tacos with Herradura Blanco

Some fried Ahí Tuna Tacos with Herradura Blanco. The tuna tacos include some soy peanut marinade, plus fresh Thai and rice noodles complete with a sweet and sour glaze. A Herradura Blanco is a great match because it’s a little spicy and smoky, yet it’s pretty neutral. Amigo says the peanut oil mixed with the Ahí tuna mixes well with the nuttiness of the tequila.

3 – Red Chili Sopes with Jose Cuervo Gold

The Red Chili Sopes with an affordable Jose Cuervo Gold. Sope is a spicy Mexican dish with shredded chicken and cabbage on a fried savory pastry. The Cuervo Gold gives you a nice bite and has a nutty flavor. Both the sope and the tequila are a little sweet and a little spicy. Jose Cuervo is a blend of blanco and reposada tequilas (slightly aged and young tequilas).

4 – Green Chile & Pork Gorditas with Patron Añejo

Green Chile & Pork Gorditas are very sweet, especially after the pork has been marinated for a number of hours. Some Patron Añejo complements the flavorful gorditas. Añejo tequila is aged in an oak barrel for at least one year. Amigo says you’ll notice some hints of honey and caramel in the tequila. They pair up with the slow roasted pork, green chili, sweet pastry, and lemon flavors in the gorditas.

5 – Sweet Pork Carnitas with Herradura Añejo

Some sweet pork carnitas are complete with some Herradura Añejo. Some tomatoes, red chili, green chili, splashes of orange and lemon juice are added in the carnitas.  Amigo revealed a secret ingredient: some Coca-Cola for a caramel finish. The spicy tastes come alive when the smooth and smoky tequila hits your breath. The caramel flavor of the tequila meshes nicely with the Coca-Cola in the pork.

6 – Chili Chocolate Cake with Don Julio Anejo

Of course, there’s a type of tequila to go with dessert. Just do the opposite of other food and tequila pairings: start with the chocolate cake and wash it down with the tequila. Amigo recommends Don Julio Añejo. A Mexican chocolate cake is infused with sprinkles of chili powder. The nice, rich, deep tequila flavor with the chocolate and the spiciness of the chili powder knocks it out of the ballpark, says Amigo.

 

Patrick Manning is part of the Junior Reporter program at Fox News. Get more information on the program here.