New Canaan’s was accredited this summer with a prestigious and rare award that recognizes its deep expertise in tequila.
Since its founding almost twenty years ago, Tequila Mockingbird has become renowned throughout Fairfield County for its “Margarita Original.” The restaurant’s commitment to tequila however goes well below its signature cocktail. Believing that understanding everything about tequila is essential to providing good service at his restaurant, Dallas “Paul” Mauk, chef-owner of Tequila Mockingbird, involved his entire staff in the mission of earning the CRT Award T certification.
Created by the Tequila Regulatory Council (Consejo Regulador del Tequila in Spanish, or CRT), the Award T was created in 2003 to recognize establishments interested in the true culture of tequila. Here is how Florina Martinez, the Deputy Representative of the Tequila Regulatory Council in Washington D.C., explained the award’s significance:
“Our CRT Award T Program certification is designed to protect the authenticity of tequila and promote a full understanding of tequila’s sophistication and variety. We believe that knowledge is power. In order for a restaurant to be certified, all personnel involved in the service of tequila must undergo an in-depth course and a comprehensive exam. The course covers the harvesting of Agave plants in the fields of appellation of origin, the fermentation and distillation process. All together, the program imparts a higher level of appreciation for tequila.”
In the quest of the CRT certification, Mauk has gone to great lengths to provide a full tequila education to his staff. First, earlier this year he sent his two veteran bartenders, Jason Geane and Ryan Gillespie, to Guadalajara in Mexico to witness first-hand the tequila cultivation production methods.
Then, in May, Mauk brought CRT Washington personnel to New Canaan to conduct a two-day training course with Tequila Mockingbird’s entire wait staff, which culminated in the CRT Award T test. The staff passed with flying colors -- earning the CRT Award certification for Tequila Mockingbird, and making the New Canaan restaurant the only restaurant in New England and one of only twenty restaurants in the country with this recognition.
As Paul Mauk elaborated “ We take tequila seriously at our restaurant. We carry one of the largest selections of Tequila on the East Coast -- more than 250 kinds of tequila. Just as a sommelier helps with wine selection, we think it’s important for our bartenders and servers to educate and guide our customers in choosing the best tequila that matches their tastes. Surprising to many people, selecting and drinking tequila is a complex and refined process.”
For those that want to see the award, it hangs in the entrance of Tequila Mockingbird. Tequila novices and connoisseurs and those who will appreciate wonderful Mexican cuisine and a great ambiance are welcome to visit Tequila Mockingbird at 6 Forest Street. Call for a reservation at 203-966-2222.