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Tequila Express Tours Talavera, Tarpon Bend, Bulla and More

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Last night, we got the full tequila treatment aboard the Tequila Express as we were transported to four hotspots in the Gables and the Grove: Tarpon Bend, Talavera, Peacock Garden Cafe and Bulla.

Throughout the stops we were briefed on tequila: the basics, production, mixology and food pairing. While it may have been the slightest bit educational, it was mostly fun. We screamed out answers to trivia questions as the wheels went round and the shots of tequila went down.

Our first stop was mixology school at Tarpon Bend where we learned how to make the signature Herradura margarita and then there was a cocktail contest amongst bus mates.

Our table mixed it up in the competition with a drink that only received an "interesting" from the judges, but we did muddle, shake and strain something pretty. Here was our entry entitled, The Watermelon Smash

The second stop on our tour was Talavera for food pairing and a hint of something spicy. We were greeted by a jalapeño and pineapple margarita.This is where we were first introduced to the Silver, Reposado and Anejo Herradura expressions and learned that they were aged for 45 days, 11 months and 2 years, respectively. The silver was paired with the most delicious shrimp ceviche.

The Reposado went with the cochinita pibil tacos.

And, unfortunately, we were forced to drink the anejo too quickly as we rushed to our next stop. Guests were disappointed to miss the famed guava cheesecake. Thankfully, it arrived in to-go boxes on the bus just in time.

We had to make it to the Grove for the third stop at Peacock Garden Cafe where we were welcomed by a big drink that one rider called, "The angry Incredible Hulk." It was actually a cilantro margarita that hit all of the lovely herbaceous notes while providing us strength to continue on our tour.This where we took Tequila 101 and were taught about highland, lowland and mixto tequila. Lowland tequilas, like Herradura, are earthier and more complex and ones from the highland are lighter more floral tequilas. The mixtos you may want to stay clear of because of the caramel food coloring that doesn't come from actual barrel aging.

Speaking of strange colors we were welcomed at the last stop by a Blue-Eyed Tiger. We headed to the upstairs patio at Bulla for some blue drinks, light bites and a look at the moon. While we indulged on octopus and tomato skewers we got ready for the final production challenge.

After a short video, our Herradura knowledge was tested. There are oranges in the fermentation process and the tequilas are aged in white American oak. Bonus points: they are the barrels from Jack Daniels.

We boarded the shuttle one last time to take us back to where we started. Although, now we were filled with some tequila knowledge, lots of booze and perhaps even some new friends.

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