New Canaan's Tequila Mockingbird was accredited with the CRT Award T certification, which recognizes its expertise in tequila.

Established almost 20 years ago, Tequila Mockingbird, 6 Forest St., has become known for its Margarita Original, its signature cocktail.

Believing that understanding everything about tequila is essential to providing good service at his restaurant, chef and owner Dallas "Paul" Mauk involved his entire staff in the mission of earning the certification. Created by the Tequila Regulatory Council, the Award T was established in 2003 to recognize establishments interested in the true culture of tequila.

The CRT Award T Program certification is designed to protect the authenticity of tequila and promote a full understanding of tequila's sophistication and variety. In order for a restaurant to be certified, all personnel involved in the service of tequila must undergo an in-depth course and a comprehensive exam. The course covers the harvesting of Agave plants in the fields of appellation of origin, the fermentation and distillation process.

Earlier this year, Mauk sent his two veteran bartenders, Jason Geane and Ryan Gillespie, to Guadalajara, Mexico, to witness the tequila cultivation production methods. In May, Mauk brought CRT Washington personnel to New Canaan to conduct a two-day training course with the entire wait staff.

"We take tequila seriously at our restaurant," Mauk said. "We carry one of the largest selections of tequila on the East Coast -- more than 250 kinds of tequila. Just as a sommelier helps with wine selection, we think it's important for our bartenders and servers to educate and guide our customers in choosing the best tequila that matches their tastes. Surprising to many people, selecting and drinking tequila is a complex and refined process."

More Information

Fact box