Who’s up for an adventure? Because we’ve certainly got one for you!
I know we can all agree on one thing: there is nowhere better to grab a Margarita than La Cava del Tequila in Epcot’s Mexico Pavilion.
The staff there is warm and friendly. The surroundings are beautiful and cozy (and cool!!). And the handcrafted margaritas are some of the best, most interesting versions of this beloved cocktail that you can get anywhere. And if you’ve tried to indulge in a visit here, then you know this for sure: La Cava is always PACKED.
But here’s the thing. La Cava isn’t satisfied to leave things the way they are. They’re always developing the next hot trend, the next new thing.
And today, we’re going to talk about something that would be adventurous anywhere. But when you put it within the framework of a Disney Park?
Time to check out La Cava’s newest offerings — Rim Salts in a variety of over the top combinations, new Margaritas, new spirits, and more. Ready? Here we go!
La Cava del Tequila New Salts, Margaritas, and More
On a recent visit to Walt Disney World, I was invited to meet up with staff at La Cava del Tequila — some of the most talented and fun people on the planet — to learn more about some of the new Rim Salts they’re introducing.
While you know I’ve been a huge fan of the drinks at La Cava since I sampled my first avocado margarita way back in 2009, the custom blended salts that they use to rim the glasses make them even more unique. Take a look at the colorful array.
Intrigued? I was too. Some of these have been around for a while, but some are brand new…and VERY interesting. Included in the six are Hibiscus Salt, Tajin, Poblano Pepper Salt, Black Ant Salt, Grasshopper Salt, and Mezcal Worm Salt. And, yes, the final three are actually made of crushed up insects.
So….let’s take a peek at how they’re being used at La Cava, shall we?
You’ve experienced the Hibiscus Salt, bottom right, if you’ve enjoyed a Jalapeño or Avocado Margarita.
And fans of the Cucumber, Maelstrom, Passion Fruit, and Blood Orange Margaritas will recognize the bright, spicy tang of the Tajin Salt (a favorite of DFB staffers. 🙂 ).
The Poblano Pepper Salt is my new favorite. It’s is earthy and spicy, and complements the Beet Margarita well. And speaking of…we didn’t love that Beet Marg the first time we tried it. The staff actually took it back to the drawing board and tweaked the recipe by adding additional orange liqueur. The result was a drink that was as delicious as it is gorgeous. The contrast of the red drink and the green salt is a total showstopper, both in terms of look and flavor.
You’ll also notice a new thing that La Cava is doing in this pic: these days, they’re only salting half of the glass rims. That way you get to taste the drink with and without it the salt.
So it’s been pretty interesting up to this point, right? Well, it’s about to go to a whole other level. It’s time for the insects!
The Blank Ant Salt is a mixture of dried chiles, crushed black ants, salt and sugar. (And if you’re having Black Ant Salt deja vu, it might be because we just told you about it in our review of Frontera Cocina.) If you look closely at the pic below, you can see little ant legs and antennae. No joke.
You’ll find this one used for the Top Shelf Margarita made with Casa Nobles Blanco. But you’ll also spy it on the new, unfrozen Tamarind Margarita as well as the Minty Pineapple. Speaking of — we had the chance to sample both during the tasting.
The Pineapple Margarita brings together Pineapple Juice with Zignam Mezcal, house made Mint Cordial (a combo of sugar, water, and fresh mint), and Cherry Liqueur.
This was fantastic! And potentially another new favorite! (I know, I know. There are so many.)
And it was love at first sip when I previously tried the Tamarind Margarita. But the drink is now served on the rocks instead of frozen. It’s still delicious, so don’t miss it!
So what’s my verdict on the Black Ant Salt? Welllllll…I’m gonna be honest with you. You can actually see the ant legs, and for some reason, that weirds me out. So I’m gonna have to tell you that this is not my cup of tea.
But that wasn’t the only member of Team Insect that we experienced. Because there’s also a Grasshopper Salt.
You’ll find the Grasshopper Salt used with drinks featuring Mezcal. It’s a natural partnership: Mezcal comes from Oaxaca, and you’ll see the insects featured in that region quite a bit.
For the tasting, we sampled Mezcal in what looked a LOT like a candle holder from the Catholic church I grew up going to! When I asked why I was being served a drink in a votive holder, I was told that it’s customary! Throughout Mexico, you’ll now often find Mezcal served in these vaso veladoras, which are basically candleholders used in the Catholic church. They were manufactured in Oaxaca and are often engraved with a cross at the bottom. (Those who imbibe are told to “drink until you see the cross!”)
Note, however, that though the veladora is the size of shot glass, this is NOT a shot. Mezcal is meant to be savored slowly.
The shot was served with a wedge of Orange — which goes beautifully with Mezcal — and the aforementioned grashopper salt. I sampled Salvacion Tobasiche and loved it. I enjoy the smooth flavor of Mezcal more than Tequila most of the time.
But. The Salt. Again with the bug legs. So cool. And just so super not my thing.
I do have good news for you, though. If Ants and Grasshoppers don’t do it for you, well, there are always Worms. As in Mezcal Worm Salt, which blends ground worms from Mezcal with chiles. While I didn’t see it in action, I did taste it (not bad!!) , and I’m sure that the good folks at La Cava will come up with an awesome way to use it.
Sotol Tasting and Tequila Barrel Tasting
But experiencing the remarkable rim salts wasn’t all that I enjoyed. The staff also gave me the chance to sample some fantastic other things.
We began with a Sotol tasting. If you aren’t familiar with the spirit, you aren’t alone.
As Mezcal is to Central Mexico, so Sotol is to the North. Made from the Desert Spoon or, Sotol, the drink can be traced to ancient times. And if you’re intrigued, you’ll be happy to know that it’s gaining popularity. It’s hard to find right now, but its sustainable nature and enjoyable flavor are making it trendy. That should lead to more of it here in the States, I’d imagine.
And yep — it was the perfect opportunity for me to break out my special custom AJ tequila glass, kept at La Cava just for my visits. 🙂
But it wouldn’t be a visit to La Cava without a little Tequila. Right? And we had a chance to sample some of the Best of the Best!
The La Cava staff actually goes to Mexico several times each year for tasting and buying trips. (I know. Hard job, eh?) They only buy barrels that they’ve actually tasted, and that they deem worthy of La Cava. I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel pretty special!
In choosing barrels, just to give you an idea, one out of twelve barrels of Casa Noble makes the cut, while only one in eight of Patron will find a home at La Cava.
With this incredible attention to detail, it’s easy to see why La Cava del Tequila is so well loved among those who visit Epcot, and with Tequila masters. And us! Us too!
And that’s the tale of how I spent several happy hours in the Mexico Pavilion lately, on a mission that was as educational as it was fun. You should totally do the same. 🙂
And that’s what I want to hear from you now: What will you be trying the very next time you visit La Cava del Tequila? Leave a comment and tell us what you think!
Love Oaxacan Worm Salt. Just came back from a visit to Oaxaca City and the pairing is amazing. The worms provide a meaty flavor which along with the spice from the chilies and the smokiness and sweetness of the Mezcal it is a match made in heaven. Yes, do not do it like a shot, treat it like Scotch and sip it.
Didn’t a get a real good look on the size of those margaritas but they looked pretty small. Were those normal sized or just a special tasting glass you got to try?
NO. THANK. YOU! LOL
Jenn @ Fairest Run of All says
Oh, I LOVE the chili salt that comes on the rim of the cucumber margarita! I assume they’ll still salt the full rim if you ask? Not sure about these bug versions, though…
I LOVE this place. Just a tip – if you’re drinking around the world, get beer here and not a margarita or you may not make it (or at least remember it!). They are quite generous with the tequila.
I’m with you AJ – I enjoy trying new things, but I don’t think I’m ready for insects. At least not without one or two shots of tequila first!!
I don’t think the bug salts will last. If people got offended by the animal poop candy last year, I don’t think they’ll be happy drinking bugs.
Dana Seccombe says
I’ve had a tamarind margarita in the past and it was delish!
But DID I HAVE BLACK ANT SALT ON IT???? OR IS THAT NEW???
I would not have had it if I knew, I don’t care how tasty. Would’nt they have had to tell you about the ants?
Please tell me this is new.
Dana, it depends when you had it. They served the Tamarind Margarita with a chili powder rim when it was introduced and only seem to have switched to the black ant rim in January 2016. I agree that if the orderer doesn’t have a menu right in front of them, they should be told that the drink comes standard with insects on it.
Patricia C says
If s drink has the bug salt (which would be a heck no for me) can we request the drink come with another salt?? I know it’s supposed to be about the flavor combos but I love that tamarind margarita yet I cannot stomach the ants salt, and I love salt on my margs! Just wondering if they’ll accommodate. Thanks!!!!
Sure, Patricia. They make the drinks to order. The menu items are just default combinations. You can get them without salt or with a different one.
Thanks for the nice update AJ….it’s great to see La Cava start implementing more interesting items as they were beginning to grow stale and cheap. It’s a shame that you have so many coddled readers with boring palates.
Although I’m not sure the bug salts are my cup of tea, I really appreciate that they are including something so authentic and interesting on the menu!
Not wanting to eat bugs isn’t coddled or boring. It’s sensible. Humans have a natural aversion to it because various insects are vectors for all kinds of diseases. The disgust reflex is a survival instinct. Same with rats and other small wild animals.
Thank you Lori. I never thought I’d see the day when I would be insulted for not wanting to eat bugs. LOL.
Just back from Epcot… You MUST TRY THE pineapple margarita… Black ant salt and all.. it’s freaking awesome…warm…buttery sugarsweet/ salt kick. Close your eyes. It’s worth it.
We were at Epcot a couple weeks ago and I thoroughly enjoyed my pineapple margarita. The salt was delicious and was hoping I could purchase some online now that I am home. Until I found out here that it was black ant salt. If I had known, I wouldn’t have had the salt on my drink. And now that I know I don’t want to order the salt. But it WAS delicious.
Just got home from WDW and I Loved the Black Ant Salt Margarita. I looked online for the “salt” and can’t find it. Can anyone help me with this Please
Tequila is my Favorite Color
I’ve had their Dragones Top Shelf margarita with the black ant salt rim. It was delicious. I’m going to try and recreate it at home. Already got most of the ingredients but can’t find where to buy the black ant salt? Anybody know where to go to purchase it? I’d rather not try to make it from scratch…
Big Earl says
I ordered The Wild One margarita based on my waiters recommendation only to find out it had ants in it. We were downloading the menu and all he mentioned was the mango passion fruit purée nothing about ants