Megs Miller is Olmeca Altos’ new UK brand ambassador who is bringing delicious tequila to bartenders across the country (yeh, she’s one popular chick). Originally Canadian-born this is possibly the most ardent tequila lover outside of Mexico we’ve ever met, and we’d even bet she’d give a few Mexicans a run for their money.
But it isn’t all Margaritas and agave chats - next Tuesday Megs is hosting a Day of the Dead dinner in conjunction with soho restaurant El Camion themed around nunca muere – never die. Why? Well she’s keen to put a spin on the traditional Dia de los Muertos and look at eating and drinking sustainably. It certainly helps that the drinks and dishes are out-of-this-world delicious (we may have had a sneak peek).
Inspired by Megs’ love of Mexico, tequila and eating with a conscience, we sat down to grab five minutes with this busy ambassador.
Megs and El Camion's chef share a shot of tequila
What’s your first tequila memory?
I’ve been on the tequila wagon since I started drinking. I always tell the story that tequila way my first shot, and Mexico was the first country ever travelled too. It also runs in my blood! When I was little my family would go camping and my mum, who usually doesn’t drink, would sit around the campfire sipping tequila with lime and salt.
Is tequila and its home country Mexico intrinsically linked for you?
Absoluetly! My time on a plane was to Mexico and I remembering thinking what is this place, it’s so colourful and vibrant and I still feel that way. For me tequila is sunshine in a glass – I guess agaves get all the sun it makes sense. Plus when have you ever walked into a tequila bar and seen anyone unhappy?
When did you first experience tequila pairs with food?
I remember this really well because I was at a tequila dinner Tomas Estes (the grand-daddy of the tequila world and nicest man on the planet) where he had paired all neat tequilas to the food we were eating. Most interestingly it was done in a wine venue so we were surrounded by all these wines and it was amazing to see tequila in this environment and see how well it worked with food.
I also remember another one with Altos when living in Edinburgh five years ago where the Bon Vivant designed plates around the cocktails which was interesting to see the food paired to the cocktails and not the other way around.
One of the amazingly vibrant dishes for the Day of the Dead dinner
How do the flavours of Mexico translate to the UK?
I think the UK has struggled with Mexican flavours but we’re getting better – the trend is moving away from fried cheese to more fresh, light, preservative-free un-processed food. Which is what true Mexican food is – delightful and fresh.
What’s your favourite memory of food in Mexico?
I was lucky enough to go to Mexico with Jorge Fitz who is a culinary expert and definitely a bit of know it all when it comes to flavours – in a good way! It was such an honour to go to a Mexican market with him where he literally got excited about every flavour, so this stands out as a great learning experience when it comes to traditional Mexican tastes. But one of my favourite places is Hueso in Guadalajara which means bones. It’s the most amazing Mexican food done in quite a sophisticated way and the flavours are out of this world.
So either an experience like Hueso or going completely the other way to traditional Mexican cantinas where it’s all plastic chairs and tables and you can see the tacos and tostadas being made in front you. All the food comes deconstructed and you build your own amazing street food.
Dishes for the Day of the Dead dinner
Why did you choose to go sustainable and veggie for your Day of the Dead dinner?
I’ve been very inspired by how sustainable the Altos distillery is. I’m so proud to be representing a tequila that takes this seriously and it should be the topic on everyone’s lips. Hopefully we can continue to raise awareness.
Choosing to do a Day of the Dead dinner themed around no death and keeping it vegetarian is all about being a bit more aware of what we eat and drink. It doesn’t mean always being veggie but being more aware. The chef at El Camion is so talented and he has created some exceptional dishes for Tuesday’s dinner which I’ve paired to a range of cocktails, from coconut-washed Old Fashioned to spicy Sangrita. Hopefully we’ll be able to convert a few more people over to tequila and Mexican flavours.
Buy tickets to the Altos Pairing Day of the Dead dinner here.