Verde Kitchen + Cocktails in Bay Shore is one of those South Shore spots where you feel like family. Locals who come for authentic Mexican fare are guaranteed to encounter a patron-loving owner and welcoming staff.

Typically I’ll head to Verde for the street tacos, but this time tequila was the headliner. 

Verde’s annual Tequila Fest last week gave locals a chance to learn more about the magical spirit steeped in Mexican history — and, of course, a chance to make new friends. I enjoyed talking to the men and women behind the bottles just as much as I did tasting what was inside the bottles.

Here’s a quick little run-down of some standouts you might want to get your hands on.

Siempre Tequila – Always a good choice

  • The name means always, and it fits. Siempre Tequila gives you the perfect balance. You get just enough strength and just enough smooth. Think of it as your go-to tequila when you need a choice everyone will like. Chris of Siempre is a charismatic gentlemen with plenty of energy. No surprise though as he was once a successful marketing exec now driven entrepreneur from California. 

Scorpion Mezcal and Ilegal Mezcal – Hair on your chest

  • There is a reason we choose tequila over the other alcohols. The myths around it when ingested include spiritual-like intoxication, hallucinations and legendary evenings where you wake up with an unexpected piercing and someone in your bed. (If you’re lucky!) Look for the bottle with a scorpion swimming in it or the red neon lights of Ilegal Mezcal. Either label will cast that spell for a witching good time.

One With Life – Organic and kosher

  • Clean eating is priority for many, but how about clean drinking? How about the ability to drink without breaking religious code? I wasn’t surprised by the organic nature, but I was interested in the brand’s ability to satisfy requirements of Jewish law. Spirits are a blank canvas that not only take on the flavor of the barrel but also the personal notes of their owners who observe correctly. Now I know what to bring to my Jewish in-laws for the holidays.

final thoughts

Tequila was formerly a thing I ordered from a menu, but after Tequila Fest it has become a face and a story. Want to have a taste of your own? Head over to Verde Kitchen & Cocktails on Main Street in Bayshore. Choose a tequila or mezcal from their extensive menu, or ask Verde team member and local tequilier Nick for his favorites.

Learn More: What’s the difference between tequila and mezcal?

Top: Siempre Tequila founder Chris Matte, along with Cassandra Trimarco and author Matthew Ambrosio at last week’s Tequila Fest at Verde. (courtesy photos)

Photo: The Illegal Mezcal booth at Verde during the 2018 Tequila Fest (Credit: Facebook)

Photo: The Illegal Mezcal booth at Verde during the 2018 Tequila Fest (Credit: Facebook)