Today is truly a cause for celebrating: it’s National Margarita Day!

What better way to commemorate this iconic and delicious drink than by taking part in a tequila tasting. This is exactly what I did, courtesy of Dulce Vida Organic Tequila and Maudie’s Tex-Mex restaurant.

Three tequila sips were placed before me, on a tasting board fashioned from a repurposed whiskey barrel that Dulce Vida uses to age their tequilas in. We began with the Blanco, a 100-proof white tequila made with 100% blue agave in the Jalisco region of Mexico. Blanco is a good mixing tequila, and in fact is what Maudie’s uses in their Signature Margarita.

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Chad Auler, Co-Founder and President of Milestone Brands LLC which owns Dulce Vida, led us from the Blanco to tasting the Reposado, an 80-proof tequila that’s aged 9-11 months in American Oak whiskey barrels. It has a beautiful light honey color, and the flavor has tastes of caramel and citrus, with a mild, sweet finish.

Next was the Añejo, which was my favorite. This 80-proof tequila is aged up to 24 months in select American Oak whiskey barrels. Dulce Vida Añejo has a rich, golden amber color with aromas of vanilla and cinnamon; its full-bodied flavor and smooth finish are best experienced as a sipping tequila. Sip away, I did.

I didn’t know this, but Dulce Vida is the fastest-growing tequila brand in the United States. “If the product is mediocre it has no chance,” Chad says. “It has to be great.”

IMG_20180221_162208461.jpgAt the same time, since this is National Margarita Day, after all, Maudie’s whipped up some of their margaritas with Dulce Vida tequila. First was their Signature Margarita, thankfully served with some of Maudie’s best snacks, tacos and flautas. But the really special drink came with the concoction that they developed this year just for National Margarita Day: Fire in the Hull.

Made with Dulce Vida Blanco that was infused with fresh strawberries and jalapeño for 5+ days, Fire in the Hull has a complex margarita flavor with a just-perfect bite from the jalapeño. The tequila is then mixed with Patrón tequila over ice, with a splash of Topo Chico and a strawberry garnish. It’s not too spicy or building (I’m probably a 3 on the spice tolerant scale of 1-10 and it was perfect for me!). Using fresh strawberries, instead of simple syrup, gives the drink a fresh berry taste without being too sweet, and I found the pepper spiciness to be just right.

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Best of all, the Fire in the Hull is available all day today, at all Maudie’s locations, for only $5!

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Ryan Leugers (Director of Operations) says that Maudie’s creates a special drink each year for National Margarita Day, that isn’t on the regular menu (although a couple were such big hits that they eventually made it onto the permanent menu).

“We have fun with it and that’s the idea,” Ryan said. “Give customers something else to come in for.”

And what did Chad, tequila expert and professional connoisseur, have to say about the Fire in the Hull? Spoiler: he is a fan.

“When you get that flavor with the heat on the back end, it just can’t be beat,” Chad summed up.

How are you celebrating National Margarita Day?