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Review: La Cava del Tequila in Epcot’s Mexico Pavilion

Aaaahhh, La Cava del Tequila… what’s a trip around World Showcase without walking inside your doors?

Well, we’re back, and we’re here to celebrate a very special birthday…La Cava del Tequila just turned five years old! For a place that’s still relatively new (in Disney World terms, anyway), it sure has earned its place on the absolute MUST list ever since opening its doors in August 2009.

We’re celebrating this special occasion with a few of my favorite things (cue the song!) and branching out with a few sips I’d never tried before.

As the saying goes, it may be “5 o’clock somewhere,” but we’re just happy when it’s 12 o’clock at La Cava del Tequila!

La Cava del Tequila Sign

La Cava del Tequila Sign

"We Open at Noon"

“We Open at Noon”

Is it noon yet ;) ? Then let’s step in!

Atmosphere

Small and cozy (and often crowded due to its well-deserved reputation), there’s still plenty for the eye to take in. Obviously, the tequila gets the spotlight – both figuratively and literally!

La Cava Tequilas

La Cava Tequilas

When you first walk in, the highlight to your left is the bar itself. If your visit is anything like mine often are, there will already be lines four people deep here. Take a deep breath and dive on in!

At opening time, the lines aren't too bad.

At opening time, the lines aren’t too bad.

Once you get up to the bar, you’ll be welcomed by the best in the business. We’ve always found La Cava bartenders and staff to be welcoming, knowledgable, and willing to share their expertise on what to choose.

La Cava Bartenders hard at work

La Cava Bartenders hard at work

The best in the business

The best in the business

If you decide you don’t want to drink and dash — and we highly recommend taking a little time to chill out and relax here at La Cava — you can always have a seat and be waited on as you would be in a regular lounge.

Small tables line the main wall, underneath the mural depicting the process of tequila-making.

La Cava Seating

La Cava Seating

You can also choose to stand if you so desire…

La Cava Standing Table

La Cava Standing Table

And while this little haven truly has its own distinct feel, it’s not without some of that famous Disney detail.

Backs of chairs

Backs of chairs

La Cava decor

La Cava decor

You might just catch a bit of whimsy on your visit, too ;). They brought Margarito out of hiding for us to enjoy. See a video here.

La Cava buddy

Margarito de La Cava

That’s the feeling in a nutshell, but we’re here for the tequila. And the experts at La Cava wouldn’t have it any other way…

Eats

The La Cava menu is full of dozens of blanco, reposado, and anejo tequilas; specialty margaritas; Mezcal; flights; infused tequilas; and other drinks. On this visit, we enjoyed a cocktail we love, and sampled some new-to-us drinks as well.

Here’s a (bad) pic of the menu of specialty margaritas. For the full menu, click here.

Specialty Margaritas

Specialty Margaritas

In the past, we’ve sampled and reviewed just about all of the specialty margaritas that cycle on and off the menu, including Passion Fruit, Avocado, Pineapple, Blood Orange, Jalapeno, Cucumber, Midnight Blue, Coffee, and the Skinny Margarita (you can see many of these reviews here, and here). This time, we went back to the Avocado Margarita, which was my first surprise — and my first favorite — at La Cava.

The rundown remains the same: tequila, melon liquor, and fresh avocado mixed with fresh lime juice and agave nectar syrup, served frozen with a hibiscus Himalayan salt rim. But the result is so creamy and refreshing that it still manages to surprise me.

Avocado Margarita

Avocado Margarita

Next? Okay, I’d mentioned that I was going to branch out a bit on this visit, so here we go… I hadn’t yet tried the Horchata Margarita: Horchata cream rum, Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey, “agua de Horchata” (Horchata is a rice milk), and tequila, all topped with cinnamon powder.

Horchata Margarita

Horchata Margarita

The first words out of my mouth after tasting this drink were, “It tastes like Christmas.” Like creamy, cinnamon-y Christmas on the rocks! I’m not a sweet drinks fan, so this isn’t one I’d order often PERSONALLY; but if you love all things Egg Nog, Bailey’s Irish Cream, etc, you’re going to really enjoy this one.

This was also my first time trying the Mexican Sangria. All the fruitiness you love in a red wine sangria laced with orange liquor, with a bit of an edge thanks to the addition of… what else? Tequila! So pretty, right?

Sangria

Sangria

This might provide an easy transition into the world of tequila for the strictly-wine folks out there.

Of course, you can’t say you’ve been to the House of Tequila without sampling some of it straight. I had a little splash of anejo in my own personalized glass. (This was my first time trying out my glass! So fun! You can find out more about the personalized glasses here.)

AJ Glass

AJ Glass

Now, how can you improve upon specialty margaritas? By adding a serving of chips and guacamole, salsa, and some of that ridiculous La Cava queso.

Trio Combo -- Salsa, Guac, Queso, and Chips

Trio Combo — Salsa, Guac, Queso, and Chips

Finally, I’m adding one more to my list of new experiences at La Cava. This time, I’m not leaving without dessert.

That’s right, I had a chance to sample the Dessert Flight: a selection of five dessert liqueurs ranging in flavors from spicy and fruity to creamy and chocolaty.  After all, what’s a birthday party without a little something sweet?

Liqueur Flight

Liqueur Flight

Included were Agavero, a blend of aged tequila and the Damiana flower; Rumchata, a creamy rum drink; 1921 Cream, the Mexican version of Bailey’s featuring coffee and cream flavors; Patron Cafe Cocoa, tequila with coffee and cocoa; and Almond Ultimo Agave, tequila infused with almond flavor.

La Cava "Dessert Flight"

La Cava “Dessert Flight”

I was happily surprised by how flavorful and distinctive each of these were. My favorites were the 1921 Cream and the Almond Ultimo Agave. Definitely a good way to end an evening of apps and drinks, and fun to share!

Oh, and for those who are interested, here’s a fun event the team at La Cava (and the other Mexican eateries in Disney World) are putting on soon.

Cava del Tequila event

Overall

Fantastic beverages, killer queso, comfortable vibe, expert staff… it all adds up to a high-quality hangout in the heart of Epcot. Five years in, and they just keep adding creative and fun options to something that was already pretty awesome straight out of the gate. So, a huge thanks and Happy Birthday to La Cava del Tequila! Here’s to many more great times within your walls!

Have you had a chance to enjoy La Cava del Tequila? Please let us know with a comment!

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16 Comments

  1. Leslie says:

    Nice pics! I’m starting my annual WDW trip later this week and this place is always a must do. Can’t wait!

  2. Jon says:

    A great place for tequila/margaritas and appetizers. My faves are the jalapeno and the avocado margaritas plus the trio combo is very tasty. In addition, the servers are friendly as well as knowledgeable. Go early since the establishment is small…I always get there soon after it opens when most people are walking around World Showcase. Follow La Cava on Twitter @cavadeltequila – they treat their followers well.

  3. C says:

    I’ve been going here for years and have never seen an open table. They’re not easy to nab. I assume you need to stand around for 30 minutes. Last time I was there, I paused at the standing table to put my card in my wallet and a drunk man yelled at me to keep moving as it was a Private Table.

    La Cava is actually losing its appeal. Too crowded, too small and too hard to maneuver.

  4. Anna says:

    AJ, I believe you share my extreme aversion to cilantro, right? If so, how’s the guacamole? Can you taste the cilantro? I imagine the Queso must not have any or much since you are such a fan. Is that correct? Thanks!

  5. Tammy says:

    We come to Disney every year. This is the first time ever visited this adorable cantina. My visit was one of the highlight of my trip. It was adorable and the drinks were delicious!! I loved the atmosphere and the painted chairs. I wanted to stay longer but the rest of the family wanted to head out. I took one more for the road. I vow to return next year. For everyone else give it a try you wont be disappointed.

  6. Essie says:

    Are the chips the only food item found here?

  7. dani says:

    Now that the avocado margaritas are pre made, I’m out. Who spends that much on premixed drinks?

  8. Lynne S says:

    C you must go at a very busy time because I have never NOT gotten a table as soon as we walk in.

    I tried the tamirand margarita last time. It was very good!!

  9. Michael Villar says:

    Drinks are excellent. The line can get ridiculously long. It’s worth the wait, tho.

  10. Melanie says:

    I sooooooo want to go in there, but I don’t think it would be appropriate with a 2 and 5 year old…

  11. James says:

    Nothing like a $15 pre-mixed margarita. At least add the tequila as you make it. Something to justify a 6 figure bartender salary.

  12. Asuka says:

    My parents and I went here in May (just after Mother’s Day). We just wanted some snack type things and the TS restaurant didn’t want to serve us without everyone buying an entree. We were seated right away, but for some reason sat around for 30 minutes without service. It was really frustrating. Mom had to go up to the bar and ask someone to serve us. The place wasn’t mobbed, but every table was taken.

    The guacamole and salsa were very good, but not worth that kind of service in my opinion.

  13. Galloping Gourmand says:

    The people are so knowledgeable about tequila. I told them my wine tastes, that I want a straight tequila but don’t like to do shots, and they gave me an excellent sipping tequila that changed the way I feel about the liquor. My friends don’t drink much so we never seem to end up in here any more.

  14. Avaitor says:

    This place is heaven if you’re in the mood for a nice drink and take a few minutes off of your Epcot day to just hang, and aren’t too hungry. Still, that queso…

  15. Kristen says:

    My husband and I will be there for my birthday in two months!! One of my favorite places to stop!! Think this time I’ll try that Avocado Margarita!! Sounds delish!!

  16. Holly says:

    Melanie- it’s ok to go in and get something to go. It’ll be worth it- I’ve done it before.

    James- you can specify if you want a pre-mixed or a “homemade” one. I have never, ever gotten a pre-made drink here. However, I have been going since opening at least 3 times a year.
    It is mine and my husband’s first stop every single time we are at EPCOT- we get in line at 11:45. We usually have some chips and guac, if possible (sometimes they are very busy and we can’t get a table), and he gets a habanero one (on a scale of 1 to 10, my husband goes 11) and I get my cucumber cilantro or pineapple cilantro one (yes, those are special requests that get made depending on how busy there are- F&W, I don’t ask because it is such a quick turn over). Or, if I’m feeling less tequila and more beer, then I grab a spicy beer that is fresh made. Francisco, Pepe, Bulmaro…they are all unique and very gracious as hosts.
    They have earned the six-figures that I contribute to with a healthy tip every time I go. It is not something to miss, especially for a first-time visit for a cool down and refresh moment with an adult beverage.
    I will say that I LOOOOOVE avocado but do not like that margarita. So many do but maybe it is the consistency. Can’t go wrong with the regular- ask Pepe to put Don Julio Silver in it- it is only a touch more expensive but it will guarantee a fresh margarita every time.
    Be there on Friday-Mon for Food and Wine 2014

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