Why does tequila always lead to trouble? As the Southwest’s answer to hillbilly whiskey, the distilled liquor, unlike cognac, is not savored in America, but drunk to excess. Think poor, güerita Jenna Bush, looking to doff cheap margaritas with a fake I.D. Lord knows we kids drank enough of the stuff as teens in Santa Fe, N.M., the first town, according to records kept in Tequila, Mexico, to have received a commercial shipment of the fiery fluid, back in 1873. But ever since the tequila label on blue agave plant liquors was restricted to spirits bottled only in certain parts of the Mexican state of Jalisco, tequila’s been moving further upscale. Premium brands like Porfidio are designed to be drunk with delight, rather than salt and lime. Mexican chef Geno Bahena, owner of Chicago’s acclaimed Ixcapuzalco restaurant, guides diners through the tastes of tequila country—El Bajío and Central Mexico—including the booze, at 6:30 p.m. at the Mexican Cultural Institute, 2829 16th St. NW. $60. For reservations call (202) 728-1628. (Garance Franke-Ruta)