Sonora Moonshine Co. (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)

NOW OPEN: Sneak Peek of Sonora Moonshine Co. (MENU)

March 29, 2024
By Matt Sterner

While the official Grand Opening celebration for Sonora Moonshine Co. isn’t until Cinco De Mayo, the new restaurant and bar is already open to the public.

Stay tuned for more details on the Grand Opening party but mark your calendars that it’s on Sunday, May 5. In the meantime, head on down to 124 E. Broadway Blvd. and check out one of downtown’s newest spots.

Sonora Moonshine Co. (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)

Sonora Moonshine is a new concept from the mind of Es Teran and the talented team at Borderlands Brewing Company. While working on opening their second taproom — Borderlands Brewing at Sam Hughes — he was introduced to the available space at 124 E. Broadway Blvd. This is the building across the street from Pueblo Vida Brewing Company.

Sonora Moonshine Co. is nestled on the ground floor of the former Access Tucson public television building, and there’s an outdoor patio space with a great view of downtown Tucson’s architecture. It’s a spot I could imagine myself spending time there any time of the day — it’s so cozy and inviting.

Plus, there’s a “swanky speakeasy-style bar” in the basement. We moseyed on down there and caught a glimpse of the space — it’s going to be a wonderfully fun addition to downtown’s basement bar lineup. The underground bar isn’t open just but Teran plans to welcome folks down there in less than a month from now.

“Celebrating our Sonoran heritage and drawing from generations of family expertise in distilled products, we’re thrilled to introduce a new culinary and mixology concept to Tucson,” said Teran. “We’re passionate about bringing this vision to life, and we can’t wait to offer the community a vibrant destination where delicious food and innovative yet traditional cocktails come together for an unforgettable downtown experience.”

Sonora Moonshine Co. (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)

The name “Sonora Moonshine Co.” refers to the former illegal nature and subsequent bootlegging of the spirit bacanora. For the agave-centered drink program, Teran is sourcing “the best tequilas, the best mezcals, the best bacanoras, and the best sotols” — all so guests can relax, enjoy, and learn about the various spirits and how they are made.

Kelly Lemons, the head mixologist, is creating some unique concoctions at Sonora Moonshine.

A couple of the highlights include the Hola Mushasho, which is Hacienda Sotol with beet juice and a cricket shrub. Yes, it’s an actual cricket (not alive) that’s neatly placed on a slice of pineapple leather. I rolled that little insect up in the dehydrated piece of pineapple and smiled when I heard the crunch.

Hola Mushasho (bottom) and Sweet Elote Espresso (top) at Sonora Moonshine Co. (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)

Also, if you order the Borderlands Sonoran Marg, be sure to partake in the salt along the rim because it’s made of dried worms. To accompany the worm salt, the tequila used in the margarita is infused with mango and there’s a bit of spice to it, too.

It’s the first time I’ve ingested worms and I can confidently say I’d do it again.

Borderlands Sonoran Marg (left) and a spritzer (right) at Sonora Moonshine Co. (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)

Plus, there are Borderlands Brewing beers on tap, of course, with the addition of one beer from Dillinger Brewing. Borderlands Brewing acquired Dillinger Brewing just a few months ago — keeping their beer recipes alive in the taprooms.

The food and drink menu is still being polished but we were able to taste a few of the dishes on their “soft opening menu.”

Carne Seca & Guacamole at Sonora Moonshine Co. (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)

The Carne Seca & Guacamole can easily be shared but can also greedily eat it all on your own like I did. The stone bowl the dish comes in is impressive (and super heavy) and carries a heaping amount of housemade guacamole. The strips of carne seca surround the guacamole, which were then used for dipping and loading into my mouth.

We also tried the Pretzel y Mole — a very large house-baked pretzel waiting to be torn apart and dipped into Sonora Moonshine’s mole. It’s another dish that’s big enough to share but then again, can also be yours and yours only.

Pretzel y Mole at Sonora Moonshine Co. (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)

Keep scrolling to glance at the menu available during their soft opening, which includes seafood dishes like Pulpo y Camaron a la Diabla — octopus and shrimp in a house salsa — and Machaca de Marlin, Sea of Cortez marlin. Also, the menu is subject to change before the official grand opening.

  • Carne Seca & Guacamole
  • Ceviche de Salmon – salmon and grape ceviche with smoked tostadas
  • Queso Fundido – birria and Mexican cheeses
  • Pulpo y Camaron a la Diabla – octopus and shrimp in a house salsa
  • Machaca de Marlin – Sea of Cortez marlin in a house salsa
  • Pork Belly Chicharron – served with a salsa macha
  • Pretzel y Mole – large pretzel with mole poblano
  • Carne Seca con Ricotta Cheese Dip – served with toasted bread
  • Aguachile en Salsas Negras – Salsas Negras and Sea of Cortez jumbo shrimp
  • Birria Nachos – served with ricotta queso sauce and macha salsa
  • Pulpo en Ajillo – octopus in garlic sauce with salsa verde
  • Just Like Sister Ray Said – sweet and savory margarita with light spice notes
  • Le Tigre Fresca – mezcal and light peppery spritz
  • Hola Mushasho – Hacienda Sotol with beets and a cricket shrub
  • Sonoran Sazerac – Mazot Anisado and piloncillo syrup
  • Down From The Hills – crispy mountain air berry Manhattan
  • Pinky Promise – 400 Conejos, bitter grapefruit, and pink peppercorn spritz
  • Lemongrass Dragon Fizz – yogurt-washed tequila, creamy sweet, lemony fizzy drink
  • Sweet Elote Espresso – creamy sweet corn espresso martini
  • Oaxacan Old Fashioned – 400 Conejos Anejo
  • Blackberry Bacanora Spritz – blackberry rosemary spritz
  • Sangrita – guava and tamarind tequila
  • Borderlands Sonoran Marg – mango-infused tequila with worm salt
Borderlands Brewing’s Beer
  • Horchata Cream Ale
  • Citrana Gose
  • German Chocolate Cake Porter
  • Toole Ave. IPA
  • Viejo Pueblo Ale
  • Tiki Party Gose (Dillinger Brewing)

The current hours of operation (subject to change) are 2 – 9 p.m. daily for the next two weeks. Stay tuned for more details on their Grand Opening on Cinco De Mayo and the full menu.

Sonora Moonshine Co. is located at 124 E. Broadway Blvd. For more information, follow Sonora Moonshine Co. on Instagram.

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