The Perfect Tapas & Tequila Pairing at Chelsea’s Salinas

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While there are countless tequila bars and tapas restaurants in New York, rarely do the two worlds come together so seamlessly as they do at Salinas. Located in the Chelsea neighborhood, the restaurant offers Spanish cuisine with a focus on the Mediterranean coast and the Balearic Islands (the name Salinas refers to the local areas where salt is harvested from the sea). What piqued our interest was their partnership with Alacrán, one of our favorite new brands hailing from Tequila in Jalisco, Mexico,

On a Friday night, we sat down at the restaurant’s bar to get an idea of how the flavor of Alacrán tequila pairs up so beautifully with chef Luis Bollo’s menu. Bollo, a San Sebastián native, brings new life to Spain’s classic tapas by featuring seasonal items, like adding roasted beets, cucumber and red berries to the traditional gazpacho de primavera. Although the restaurant has more than 75 Spanish wines on hand, our recipe for the perfect night came courtesy of mixologist Courtney Tietze, whose approach closely mirrors the chef’s. With each new season, Tietze sits down with the chef to come up with cocktails perfectly tailored to the ingredients and flavors of the menu.

As a result, Salinas has some of the most delicious Alacrán cocktails we’ve tried in the city. We recommend the verde sobre blanco (green over white), made with blue agave tequila blanco mixed with fresh cilantro, yuzu (Japanese lemon) and freshly squeezed pear nectar. This cocktail pairs up perfectly with the tostas de boqueron; marinated anchovies, avocado and olivade on multi-grain toast. Another favorite was the humo rojo (red smoke), made with Espadin agave mezcal mixed with fresh lemon, chilli syrup, cherry heering and a dash of agave nectar. This smoky drink, which evoked the flavor of a well-aged Scotch, was the perfect complement to the codorniz con manzana; crispy quail wrapped with bacon, pan seared apple, green onions, mushrooms & rioja balsamico. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, give Tietze free reign to whip up a one-of-a-kind drink. We got a pleasant surprise with an Alacrán cocktail mixed with fresh cucumber – delicious!

Whether it’s a date or a night out with friends, we recommend starting the night just like we did, sipping Alacrán cocktails and nibbling on tapas in the bar and lounge at the front of the restaurant. Then snag a spot in the wood-and-stone dining room, which features a gas fireplace and glass roof that set the scene beautifully, for a perfect night out.

 Salinas is located at 136 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10011. For more information call (212) 776-1990 or visit their website

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