As a writer, “national _______ days” are constant reminders that public relations firms exist. Their aim? To stir up content ideas for their brands from fine folks like me. Normally these emails get an eye-roll and polite delete, but one that struck a happy nerve this week is National Tequila Day, a day where it should be socially acceptable to sip the distilled blue agave spirit all day from the comforts of one’s desk.
I could write about tequila daily and never get bored, especially with so many great places in Orange County that serve up incredible flights and offer my favorite cocktail ever, the margarita…a drink so dear to me that I named my daughter after it—Daisy (in Spanish, margarita means daisy)
But what’s new with tequila in Orange County? Cha Cha’s Latin Kitchen just opened its second location at the Tustin/Irvine Marketplace.
Jamboree and Irvine Boulevard isn’t an area where one would necessarily expect a place with 70 or so tequilas and a dozen hand-shaken cócteles, a quarter of which happen to be margaritas. In this new restaurant’s vast open-air vibe, the high ceilings dangle long light fixtures that sway in the breeze, and the sounds of Luis Fonsi’s Despocito sets the chill mood. I just read that Despocito is the first Spanish-language song to break the Billboard Top Ten since the Macarena. Ai!
For National Tequila Day on Monday, July 24th, Cha Cha’s is debuting its new drink, the El Palomar Margarita, a hand-shaken beauty with AsomBroso Blanco 100 percent blue agave tequila (the phallic bottle one), fresh serrano chili, Cointreau, freshly squeezed lime juice, agave nectar, and a float of house-made hibiscus tea. The drink is electric violet, with a refreshing floral hit to the nose. Despite the Serrano’s usual heat, I only caught a note of pepper on the nose, and just a slight tingle of warmth on the last sip. This drink is incredible and goes to show what a terrific vehicle the margarita is for tweaking.
Tequila flights are also a must for the day, and Cha Cha’s has you covered. I went with Gran Centenario, which includes salt, lime, a plata (aged 28 days), reposado (aged 10 months), and the bar’s añejo (aged 36 months). The spirit has tons of character at all three levels, with a notable minerality backing up the peppery agave. So fun! Try your own flight and report back.
Viva la tequila day!
Cha Cha’s Latin Kitchen has two locations: in Brea’s Birch Street Promenade and the new location at the Tustin/Irvine Marketplace at 13126 Jamboree Road, Irvine // chachaslatinkitchen.com