Maybe it was the night. Maybe it was the atmosphere. Or maybe it was multiple margaritas …

Whatever it was, it definitely proved Zapoteca is doing something right when it comes to authentic, Mexican-influenced, high-end bar experiences.

I visited during happy hour, which runs from 4 to 6 p.m. on weekdays (and again from 10 p.m. until close for the late nighters), and includes $2 off all specialty cocktails and appetizers.

When I arrived, I was warmly greeted by a kind gentleman who held the door for me. A similar reception was waiting for me at the bar, which is sleek, low-key and smoothly down to earth, much like Zapoteca itself.

After studying my options, I sent out the universal sign for help — a smile and a sheepish shoulder shrug. On cue, the bartender swung over to assist me. After counseling me through a variety of tough decisions (Spicy or mild? Sweet or savory?), he produced a delightfully fresh and spicy El Pepino margarita — served up, of course. With a beautifully balanced mix of cucumber and jalapeno, I really couldn’t go wrong. It was different, simple, well done and stylish.

Other exciting and tantalizing cocktails include the Caipirinha, which shakes together fresh lime with cachaca topped with a splash of soda for a tickling, bubbly texture; or the habanero watermelon margarita, combining habanero-infused Gold tequila, watermelon puree and lime juice.

There’s a diverse and full selection of beers on tap as well as a full bar, but the crown jewel of Zapoteca is its tequila selection.

I’m not exactly sure just how many tequilas Zapoteca houses, but if you’re at all a lover of the sweet, agave nectar (or not sure but willing to try), this is the place for a test run. The tequilas are divided into categories — un-aged, aged two months and aged one to three years.

Clearly, Zapoteca is serious about its tequila. But if you, like me, have no idea that there’s tequila beyond Jose Cuervo, then please, do yourself a favor and order a flight. You’ll experience rich, smoky, sweet tastes and diverse varieties of tequila that you never knew existed with your bartender to guide you.

While I was at Zapoteca, I longingly read over the drinks menu, wondering what mezcal tasted like and thinking about the myriad ways that tequila can be coaxed into cocktail alchemy.

But those drinks would have to wait, for as many of us know, a little tequila goes a long way …

Johanna Sorrell is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.