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The sum of all cane – Paranubes

The Paranubes Rum

What is it

Paranubes is a rum distilled from sugar cane juice in Oaxaca’s Sierra Mazateca region which is almost due north of the city of Oaxaca far off in the mountains. It is distilled by Jose Luis Carrera and imported by Vago. It hit the US market in June and is currently available in California, Illinois, Louisiana, New York, and Texas. Internationally you can find it in Italy. Read more

On touring and other such things

The cueva collection at the Mezcalosfera palenque.

I get a lot of inquiries about how to visit palenques while in Oaxaca and I am quick to recommend different kinds of experiences depending on what people are looking for. We have a standing guide to tours and I am happy to add a new one to the list – Mezcouting from Andrea Hagan. She’s got a great background in food sovereignty and in her years in Oaxaca has worked with the University of Vermont, Susan Trilling, and Mezcaloteca. She’s crafted her tours, like the others we recommend, on the relationships she has developed in different communities thoughout her years here. You want hands on traditional cooking classes – with deep dives into milling and processing and masa making with your mezcal visits – this is your person.

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Thank GAD…

The Gracias a Dios lineup

I have to hand it to the guys at Gracias a Dios (GAD) or www.thankgad.com – that is one clever URL for the brand.

I had a chance to visit their palenque – a two birds with one stone event so I could see my friend Norma and visit the palenque. She lives in Teotitlan and puts on some pretty incredible textile and culture tours.

We set up a time to meet at the GAD palenque and get a special tour and tasting with Maestro Mezcalero Oscar Hernandez Santiago. Of course I got lost because my GPS disconnected and the directions sent us off in the complete opposite direction in Matatlan. Note to travelers – google maps is great and amazing, except of course when you have no phone reception which crazily enough, I didn’t in Matatlan. The palenque is on the edge of town as you head south on 190. It is a beautiful piece of property and will eventually be a centerpiece of the new style of mezcal travels in Oaxaca – a bread and breakfast on palenque property. It is now available to book through Airbnb. Read more

Tales of mezcal from Tales of the Cocktail

I’m just back from Tales of the Cocktail 2017 and there’s no rest for the weary, or is it guilty?, so I’m going to jump into this quick recap of the trip and then get back to our regularly scheduled business.

Agave love

The best thing about Tales is that it draws in everyone from the agave world, the floating culture of agave spirits assembles there, so it was fantastic to see all the familiar faces and many new, all united by a single passion. The mezcal world is very collegial: Sure, we’re all working and explicitly this is an educational opportunity, but it’s also incredibly social. I was thrilled to meet lots of people who made the trip to Tales who don’t even work in the industry, they just came because they are obsessed with agave spirits and wanted to know more. We really are part of a community. Read more

Bottling mezcal cocktails the UK way

Longflint’s bottled mezcal paloma

I recently had the pleasure of chatting with James Law who is one of the forces behind Longflint beverages which are low ABV bottled cocktails. By low ABV, I mean low, to date their entire product line is under 6% ABV so these are the definition of quaffable or, to use another alcohol analogy, they’re session cocktails. Read more

I went to the Feria del Mezcal and drank delicious beer

Sadly, the title isn’t click bait, it’s true, I did go to the annual Feria del Mezcal in Oaxaca and drank some delicious beer. Mezcal was well represented by some strong brands but the scene was decidedly mixed. There were the usual bottles of cremas and murky yellow bottles labeled as mezcal, and at night, it definitely turned into the biggest party in town. Read more

The Casa de Cortes model

The Tres Mezquites Palenque

Over my years of visiting Oaxaca, Asis Cortes and I have never managed to be here at the same time. This trip is no different, but luckily, I was finally able to get out and visit a few of the palenques they work with. Special thanks to Puro Burro and Zack Safron who used to be a San Francisco based bartender. He has since made the leap to Oaxaca which is quite a trend with bartenders. Zach occupies a fascinating spot in the mezcal world: He works closely with Puro Burro which leads trips to Oaxaca geared toward the hospitality industry, and is a bartender at Mezcalogia, Asis’ Oaxaca mezcaleria. Zach acts as a kind of connector for the Casa de Cortes “empire” with Mezcalogia and the world outside of Oaxaca. His love and enthusiasm for mezcal, and Oaxaca, cannot be overstated. Read more

D(r)iving deep into Ejutla

Espadin against the dramatic sky

A few years ago I was introduced to Francisco Perez who was traveling through the US promoting an Ejutla, Oaxaca based mezcal cooperative, Integradora Comercial de Ejutla SA de CV ICESA, and its mezcal brand, Forever Oaxaca. Our continued correspondence kept me abreast of the expanding cooperative, their changing branding (now Siempre Oaxaca with a focus on small production mezcals), and the addition of new lines including Banhez and El Ejuteco. Max and I were lucky enough to celebrate Christmas in San Miguel Ejutla last year, which we tried to capture here. Read more

Oaxaca – a constantly changing landscape

The colors of La Guelaguetza in full bloom.

We arrived just as the morning sky was breaking open and the rain had stopped. There had been a torrential storm when we landed in Mexico City the night before, and despite having put in a four hour buffer to get through customs, get to the bus station, and grab something to eat before catching our midnight bus to Oaxaca, we barely made it. Rain has inundated Mexico City and created traffic havoc on an already traffic laden city. Read more

Mexico in a Bottle Denver, in pictures

Holy cow was that crazy and insane, and yes even a little fun – two days of agave (oh and Mexican rum!) and 1200 people, it was a not for the faint of heart.Denver, you are one beautiful town with hands down the nicest Lyft drivers anywhere, and a taco scene that gives LA a run for the money. Read more