The Commissary: Flight School
Sayulita (South Glastonbury, CT)
Fasten Your Seat Belt – It’s Tequila Time
If your experience with tequila has been limited to licking salt, eating worms, and waking up with your underpants inside out, then it’s time to level up.
And maybe reach out to a therapist.
Anyway, made from the agave plant, tequila, in its various forms, has been around for centuries and similar to other spirits, there’s the stuff you choke down for a speedy buzz, then there’s the savor-worthy variety and, honestly, why settle for less when you can have both?
If you’re clueless where to begin, don’t feel bad.
Most of us fall into the worm, messed up-underwear category, which is what makes a trip to South Glastonbury essential.
Opened in 2014, Sayulita, offers Mexican-inspired cuisine along with an extensive tequila menu.
Featuring a considerable selection of blancos (white or colorless), reposados (aged in oak barrels anywhere from two months up to a year), and añejos (aged), there’s something for just about everyone, their families, friends, and the neighbors, too.
The uninitiated may find this daunting, overwhelming even, which is why Sayulita’s mixographer and bar manager, Brian Williams, has made it easy by curating four distinct flights, The Educator, Strictly Blancos, The Ultra, and The Baller.
“The idea behind the flight is not just a regular sampling, but to get people more involved…pave the way,” explained Williams.
“Whether you’re a veteran or not, every single one of those should be approachable. The idea is to compare.”
Of the four, Williams said that the Strictly Blancos with its array of sweet to dry tequilas, is the most popular and includes his personal favorite, Forteleza Blanco, a tequila on the dryer side with a pleasing citrus scent and black pepper finish.
The Educator features Casa Noble Blanco, a white tequila, along with two mezcals, a spirit also made from agave. Unlike tequila, which is produced by steaming the agave inside ovens and copper pots, mezcal is cooked inside earthen pits before being distilled in clay pots, giving it a smokier flavor.
There are other variables that differentiate the two and frankly, unless you’re an expert, it’s all a little confusing so don’t hesitate to ask for a detailed lowdown when you order it.
The Ultra and Baller both feature premium tequilas at a price tag of $32 and $45 respectively.
You’re paying far less, however, than you might otherwise to sample tequilas that can run anywhere from $90 up to $150 a bottle.
“We want people to try things,” according to Williams, who said that it’s more important to offer value than anything else.
Beyond the tequila flights, it’d be a federal crime (sort of like paying hush money to ex-strippers) not to mention Sayulita’s margaritas, including several spicy versions that likely outclass anything else you’ve ever had, so plan on ordering more than one and bring a DD.
And the food? Completely yummily.
Is that a word?
Whatever, it doesn’t matter. It aptly describes most everything on the menu.
When sampling the tequilas, Williams suggests ordering the Ceviche De Playa, which works well as a companion appetizer.
But there are plenty of other options including the Guacamole Classico & Salsa (add the Queso, you won’t be sorry), the Mexican Street Corn (available seasonally), and any of the tacos (Baja fish and buttermilk fried chicken, um, yes please).
Sayulita’s churros, served up with accompanying ice cream, dulche de leche, and Mexican chocolate sauce should be ordered as the waistline-busting finale and is worth every single damn calorie.
Details: Tequila flights are three ounces each (one ounce per glass) and cost $19 – $45.
Where: Sayulita (www.cantinasayulita.com), 865 Main St., South Glastonbury.
Know Before You Go: Sayulita doesn’t accept reservations and on weekends the wait can exceed two hours. Consider going midafternoon to avoid the rush or during the week.