My Quest for Agavero

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It all started with my friend Monica’s birthday. A group of us went to celebrate the Jalisqueña-via-LA’s special day at Mercadito on Avenue B. If you’ve never been to Patricio Sandoval’s restaurant, its a small place (it only seats 14) that serves even smaller authentic Mexican dishes. Tacos are tiny, but savory: the estilo baja ($13.50 for a plate of 4), with beer battered fried fish, coleslaw and chive-habanero aioli is to be relished, and the pastor (chile ancho-chile guajillo rubbed pork, grilled pineapple, with chile de arbol salsa, $13.50) won’t disappoint. The guacamole is fresh and comes in pleasing variations, including piña and mango versions. And of course, the cocktails are a must. Who would’ve thought that a cucumber margarita would be refreshing and spicy at once? But the one thing that left the biggest impression on me was our after-dinner drink.

Monica asked for what she thought was an impossible request – a round of Agavero to top off our meal. According to her, only a real Mexican restaurant would carry it since it is so hard to find in the States. While our American waiter looked at us with a blank stare, one of the owners, Patricio, knew exactly what we wanted, and our girl got her wish. Had we looked at the menu before hand, we may have noticed it listed among all the other drinks; each “shot” priced at whopping $10.50.

Agavero is no normal tequila. In fact, I can’t really say its tequila at all. It is liquor made with blue agave añejo and reposado tequilas, and an essence of Damiana flower – a supposed ancient aphrodisiac. It’s sweet like a port and full-bodied like a brandy. The liquor is honey-like in color and somewhat in taste, with a strong aroma. From your first whiff, you can immediately tell its high alcohol content: 64 proof. This is definitely not something you drink as a shot, this is something you savor. And for nearly half an hour, we did exactly that.

This was an experience I wanted to repeat, but at a lower price; and so, my quest for a bottle of the liquor began the next day. The birthday girl tried to talk me out of finding the drink, since she’s never been able to find it in New York, only when her family visits Mexico. Immediately, I went to and found a site that sold the liquor. The cheapest was $29.00 plus nearly $10 in shipping and the most expensive was $38.00 with God-knows-how-much in additional fees. As much as I wanted this elixir, I wasn’t ready to pay that much. I was determined, with the help of my unlimited metrocard, to find a place in the city that carried it.

I was encountered with empty looks whenever I asked for Agavero by name. Not even Astor Place carried it. And then, out of sheer perseverance I found it at Warehouse Wines and Spirits. The price was right – only $29.99 plus tax. It was absolutely worth the searching. . As it happens, this liquor only recently attained US distribution rights, so it will probably be easier to find, and hopefully, soon enough, I’ll be greeted with knowing smiles instead of puzzled frowns.

While I first encountered the liquor as an after-dinner drink, it is something that can be drank at any time: among friends, or just to unwind at home. After searching through the Agavero website I discovered cocktail recipes that in the least sound interesting and highly alcoholic. One delicious after-dinner option is called Agavero sunset which consists of a shot of the liquor over vanilla ice cream. Sweet intoxication never sounded better.

For more information on Agavero, go to

Mercadito: 179 Avenue B, New York 10009 Btwn 11th & 12th St Phone: 212-529-6490 Warehouse Wines and Spirits, 735 Broadway, near 8th Street (212) 982-7770