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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Smoky Drinks, Savory Bites: Mezcal Amarás Gives a Sneak Peak to Cala

Posted By on Tue, Sep 8, 2015 at 11:00 AM


click to enlarge A.K. CARROLL
  • A.K. Carroll

Twelve-time restaurateur Gabriela Cámara is set to open Cala, her debut US eatery, by September 15. Anchor Distilling's Mezcal Amarás, whose mezcales will be featured in Cala’s careful selection of spirits, threw an opening shindig for Cámara, and if the smoky-sweet flavors of the espadín and papalote mezcales weren’t enough to taunt my taste buds into easy submission, Cámara’s food did the rest, sending me into a blissful coma by the end of the evening.

With the recent spike in demand for agave and agave-sourced liquors depleting Mexican soil of both cultivated and wild varieties, the plant is not exactly in danger, but it isn’t thriving, either. Amarás attempts to combat this, sourcing their mezcal in sustainably resourceful ways, making them a sort of pioneer where reforestation of agave is concerned. This is where the connection to Cala comes in.

click to enlarge Guacamole and goat cheese - A.K. CARROLL
  • A.K. Carroll
  • Guacamole and goat cheese

When she opened Contramar in 1998, Cámara’s focus was on fresh simple seafood, with her ceviche and tostadas transforming Mexico City denizens' palates. Cala will be no different, with a menu that displays a liberal use of local, fresh seafood. Mezcal Amarás matches the mark, with its priority on clean flavors and an emphasis on local terroir.

click to enlarge Octopus on tostada crisps - A.K. CARROLL
  • A.K. Carroll
  • Octopus on tostada crisps

If Wednesday’s sneak peak into Cámara’s much-anticipated launching is any indication of what is to come, I can easily say the food will both satiate and tantalize. The octopus small-bite alone was enough to keep me lingering around the table, served on a thick and crispy handmade tortilla I could have eaten by the handful if I weren’t in the presence of company. Not to mention the halibut or creamy cool guacamole paired with fresh goat cheese. All of it was top-notch with mezcal cocktails to match.

click to enlarge Mezcal Martini - A.K. CARROLL
  • A.K. Carroll
  • Mezcal Martini

A mezcal martini paired the campfire flavor of espadín, with mandarin Napoleon, fennel, lime, and a stuffed Castelvetrano olive. If it is the only reason you drop by Cala’s bar later this month, you won’t regret the decision. Added incentive includes a mezcal Manhattan and a smoky mezcal margarita that pairs citrus cane syrup with lime and orange bitters.

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A. K. Carroll

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