Teetotalers need not apply, because today we’re going to talk about The Agave Experience in La Cava del Tequila!
Just in case, let’s kick it back to basics first. La Cava del Tequila is the tequila and margarita bar that’s inside the pyramid in the Mexico pavilion. It’s on your right when you first enter. La Cava is run by an outside company, not Disney.
Unlike the quick service stands outside, they offer tequila shots in addition to specialty margaritas. The space is tiny, so if you want to sit and enjoy your margarita at a table, be sure to arrive early. Yes, I have rope dropped this place.
The Agave Experience is a relatively new offering that takes place inside La Cava. I’m not sure if reservations are required per se, in that if there was an open slot you could probably ask about it, but they’re highly, highly recommended. I don’t know if this is always the case, but when Pat and I did it we were the only people in our group.
Your experience begins with a classic margarita for your sipping pleasure while staff readies your fancy-pants tequila tasting experience. You may wonder what exactly there is to ready beyond some tequila bottles and shot glasses, but as you arrive at your table you’ll see just how intricate your tasting will be.
Our table was set with multiple glasses of various tequilas, plus accoutrements to help us smell and taste the subtleties of each type. We also received bottles of water and chips and guac, although we didn’t consume them until the conclusion of our tasting.
For our Agave Experience, our guide was Cristina. If I remember correctly, her family hails from Guadalajara. Since it was just us and we’re learning Spanish, we requested that she do part of the presentation in Spanish where the words were simpler, and she was happy to oblige.
Cristina began the tasting by thanking us for coming in the first place. This was a surprise, but she explained that for many people, tequila is a cheap liquor you knock back in a shot. In Mexico, tequila is regulated, but elsewhere it is not. In fact, tequila can be as nuanced as wine, and Mexican tequila makers are eager to show drinkers how tequila can be sipped, savored, and enjoyed.
As part of this greater understanding, Cristina gave us the short version of how tequila is made, using the mural on La Cava’s back wall to illustrate. I won’t spoil the story in full, but the main thrust of the process was that the longer you let the tequila rest and ferment, the smoother it will be.
With that in mind, we began the tasting, which would be similarly ordered by age of the tequila. Our samples ranged from young blanco tequila, followed by reposado, or rested, followed by añejo, or aged. The older the tequila, the more golden, and the flavor became noticeably – to borrow a term from wine tasting – full-bodied. We finished up with a smoky mezcal.
There would be no knocking back shots here! Instead, Cristina had us sniff the tequila as you might wine, alone and with our accessory snacks to bring out different facets of the scent. Sometimes, as with the chocolate and crickets, we even ate alongside our taste.
At the end of our session, Cristina bid us goodbye with the promise that we could each select one margarita from the regular La Cava menu. Pat and I both selected the spicy El Diablo, which we drank alongside those aforementioned chips and guac. We were not rushed from our table at any point.
Would I recommend The Agave Experience? Abso-freaking-lutely, with a few caveats. First, it’s pretty expensive, especially once you factor in the gratuity. Unless you’re rolling in the dough, you might need to stack this one against, say, a dessert party or fancy dinner. On the other hand, you do get five hefty pours of liquor plus two margaritas and a private presentation, so I think the value is there. It’s just a question of how much money you’re ready to drop.
The only other thing I’d consider is how many people under 21 are in your party. I don’t even know how La Cava handles kids for this program – probably they’re free? But they will have to just stand there and listen without participating. If you don’t have kids who are old enough to venture off on their own, I’d wait until you do.
I say if you’re child-free, enjoy adult beverages, and are ready to trade money for quality, The Agave Experience is an no-brainer. Tell Cristina we say hi!
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