I absolutely love drinking, and jump on every chance to go out with my friends. But all those years spent getting myself drunk haven’t really amounted to an expanse of knowledge regarding the stuff that gets me drunk. All I know is that alcohol gets me buzzed, and I won’t drink it if it actually tastes like alcohol (I prefer cocktails). Only recently have I considered drinking to be a sort of art that uniquely affects each sense and offers a distinct study on flavors, as well as how such are produced. Considering my recent visit to Manila’s only tequila bar, A’Toda Madre, I think the Mexican specialty was a good start.
The guys at A’Toda take their tequila very seriously, and endeavor to educate the alcohol-loving public of what constitutes quality tequila. The owners devote this hole-in-the-wall tequila bar to increase the awareness, education, and consumption of tequila, which I find really cool. Aljor, one of the owners, eagerly shared with us the regions in Mexico where pure tequila is produced and from which plant (the blue agave), as well as the four expressions of tequila according to how long they are rested. I’ve learned that much like wine, there’s an exact science behind how tequila is aged, as well as its variations in taste and aroma. And contrary to what we often taste (and experience), 100% pure agave tequila shouldn’t taste or smell heavily like isopropyl, and shouldn’t leave a bad hangover the day after.
We got to try shots of each expression of tequila (Blanco, Reposado, Añejo, and Extra Añejo). I personally failed to distinguish the very subtle differences among their flavors and aroma, but did notice that each went down much more easily than the previous shot. Apparently, tequila grows smoother as it ages. I gotta say, their Margarita was unlike any I’ve tried! It went down without the chemical isopropyl sting we expect from normal tequila cocktails, and gave such a light, welcome buzz. Another cocktail I absolutely loved was their Horchata Margarita, which is a sweet rice drink mixed with sugar, yummy cinnamon, and tequilaaa. I loved sugary sweet cocktails, so this was easily my favorite. Curious drinkers can try out their Spicy Margarita, which offers a strong chili kick in every sip.
Now A’Toda might primarily be a tequila bar, but they’ve been getting heaps of raves about how awesome their food is as well. This comes as no surprise since they only dish out the best of the best; A’Toda’s salsas and spices are all shipped from Mexico, and all dishes follow the standards of how authentic Mexican grub should taste like, as compared to the Tex-Mex and Filipinized Mex we’ve grown accustomed to. My favorite has to be their steak tacos (soft-shell, like how them Mexicans do it), but I swear, the difference is in the salsaaaaaa.
I especially liked the overall vibe of the A’Toda Madre. The place is filled with banderitas and warm colors that beckon hot Mexican afternoons, with kitschy Dia de los Muertos knickknack skulls lining the bar and amazing graffiti at the bottom. Even its emblem, which looks like a creepy corpse bride, is a caricature of Mexico’s iconic “La Calavera Catrina,” which was likened to Latinas who took to the Western European ways during the turn of the century (google it.)
With loads of character and its intent and identity firm, I think A’Toda Madre does ring true to its name. It’s street slang in Mexico which loosely translates to “something totally awesome.” Indeed it is.
A’Toda Madre is located at the Ground Floor of Sunette Tower, Durban Street, corner Makati Avenue (right across Shakey’s) Makati
Visit their website for a map to the place: http://www.atodamadre.com.ph/