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Going out on a high note – Mexico in a Bottle SF

Photo by Michael Skrzypek.

We can hardly believe it ourselves, the final Mexico in a Bottle for the year happened and we are staring Thanksgiving in the face– where did the year go?

What a way for us to finish the year though, Mexico in a Bottle SF did not disappoint. 34 brands poured more than 150 different mezcals, sotols, raicillas, and bacanoras. There was even a Mexican rum and Mexican craft beer – it was a truly spectacular collection of bebidas de Mexico.

Mike Whipple form La Neta Mezcal shares a laugh at Mexico in a Bottle SF 2017. Photo by Michael Skrzypek.

What’s new at Mexico in a Bottle?

We’ve been doing this for four years now so we’re alway introducing new ideas. This year we brought on Topo Chico as our official water sponsor, and they really did make sure that the water flowed. We also had a rotating brand table to showcase mezcals not yet in the market and it was a huge hit. Look out for brands like Mezcal Nacional, Chaneque, Tres Tiempos, and Mestizo soon.

Mezcal Nacional at our rotating tasting table at Mexico in a Bottle SF 2017. Photo by Michael Skrzypek.

But what about everyone else? There are just so many mezcals to mention ranging from those just about to enter the market like La Neta to those like Del Maguey who have defined the mezcal space for more than 20 years. In between you could find a complete spread, the godfathers like Del Maguey and the brand spanking new Clande Sotol which is on just on sale now. Want to see the full mezcal list? Check it out. We partnered with Caskers to make as many of those mezcals availabale as possible and we got you a discount. Use the code MEZCALISTAS to get $10 off your order now through the holidays at caskers.com/mezcal.

A small sample of the items on sale at our tiendita. Photo by Michael Skryzpek.

Our tiendita featured beautiful crafts and art from Michoacan, Puebla, Oaxaca, and San Francisco. We launched our first calendar devoted to the mezcaleros that make all this wonderful mezcal possible while maintaining such a vibrant culture. We are donating 100% of the proceeds from the calendar to Mexican earthquake relief so get yours today!

We also launched a new t-shirt design, our Fuerza Mexico! design is ready for you and 100% of the proceeds also go to Mexican earthquake relief. Order now to be ready for that holidays and new year.

The rest of our shirts are also available with $5 from each sale going to earthquake relief so let the good looks and good feelings abound this holiday season.

We already raised $2,000 for earthquake relief efforts in Mexico at Mexico in a Bottle San Francisco from our t-shirts, calendars, and the generous contributions from Ilegal Mezcal and Dos Volcanes. But why stop there? Hit our store, get some Christmas gifts, and help support our fundraising efforts!

A sampling of the mezcal stories that attendees left behind. Photo by Michael Skrzypek.

We were also happy to introduce a story telling component where attendees could write about how mezcal found them, or record their stories with Jaime Qui of Agave Tip – we can’t wait to feature them on the website! All in all, a great expansion in directions that make sense. We look forward to rolling these concepts out to other locations in 2018.

New trends in the mezcal world

The new Fabriquero sotol. Photo by Michael Skrzypek.

While we’ve seen tons of changes to the mezcal world perhaps the most fascinating trend is how mezcal is opening the door to other kinds of agave distillates like raicilla and sotol. But now that the door is open other Mexican craft spirits like rums and the whiskeys are rushing in. This year we’ve welcomed Paranubes to the US market but that’s just the start. There are already a pair of Comitecos available in the US and other rums are on the way.

This trend is exciting and we look forward to incorporating even more of those spirits in future tastings which, thankfully only further reinforces the name of the event – Mexico in a Bottle. The presentations we had this event also reflected the growth of the category from an exploration of Raicilla from Christian Arizmendi to the implications of the new NOM-70 from Rachel Dorcy. Here’s a quick look at some of Christian’s presentation on our burgeoning YouTube channel:

Taste mezcal but what about the food?

And the food, the delicious food! We had truly spectacular dishes from the participating restaurants from all around the Bay Area:

4505 brought a whole pig stuffed with pineapple and other ingredients for their tacos at Mexico in a Bottle SF 2017. Photo by Michael Skrzypek.

  • Calavera served a shrimp and chorizo sope paired with a Bacanora forward cocktail.
  • LV Mar offered three treats including a shrimp ceviche, a pork belly taco, and a vegetable salad paired with two perfect fall cocktail sips with Mezcal Tosba.
  • ABV/Lagrimas treated guests to a mushroom huarache and a Vida Mezcal fueled cocktail sip.
  • 4505 Burgers and BBQ had perhaps the most dramatic presentation of a whole roasted pig for their Al Pastor tacos.
  • Tamarindo once again delivered with its agua chile and barbacoa taco, paired with a Don Amado Mezcal cocktail that infused rose hips and tamarindo.
  • Mosto brought the famous Bar Movil: A completely mobile bar where they were serving up a sublime Mezcal Vago cocktail. They paired that with the house huitlacoche sopes.
  • Uno Dos Tacos presented traditional carnitas tacos with an El Techo cocktail sip featuring Nuestra Soledad Mezcal.
  • Don Bugito demonstrated the versatility of edible bugs with its gusano and guacamole tostada.
  • Mixiote, an incubator business out of La Cocina, served up its chicken tinga-esque tostada alongside Hard Frescos and their line up of “hard” agua frescos.

So, where do we go from here? We’ve got big plans for 2018 and will be expanding to some new cities, so heads up San Diego, Washington DC, New York City, Chicago, and of course, San Francisco, we’re coming at you…

In the meantime, check out the photos from San Francisco. Special thanks to our amazing photographer Michael Skrzypek for taking these!

 

 

Mezcal Week is in full swing

Yes, it’s that time of year again. There’s a chill in the air, the leaves are turning color, and Mezcal Week is taking over a bar near you. We have already seen the amazing Alipus Agave Trail in Melbourne, the Lágrimas preview at Overproof in SF, and so much more.

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How do you say mezcal in Russian?

Well, you start with Mezcal Week! But damn, we love this video that the crew at St. Petersburg’s El Copitas (no, not the St. Petersburg in Florida, this is the one in Russia!) shot to promote what they’re doing to celebrate Mezcal Week. We have it on repeat around the office so, guys, shoot another one of all your tastings so that we can play that as well!

Yes, this is Mezcal Week so make sure to get out there and celebrate mezcal. With tastings across the globe you’re bound to find one year you. Viva Mezcal!

A nice look at Cuish

When it rains documentaries, it can also pour. We just heard about this very affectionate short about Cuish and its founder Felix Hernandez. Cuish bottles mezcal from a collection of Oaxacan mezcaleros and also has a very nicely appointed tasting room in the city of Oaxaca. Read more

Chicago, Chicago

The vasos all ready for Mexico in a Bottle Chicago 2017 participants. Photo: Max Garrone.

Last year when we launched Mexico in a Bottle Chicago, it followed on the heels of a series of openings of mezcal places like Dove’s Luncheonette, Las Flores, Leña Brava, Estereo, and Quiote. Since then only more mezcal places have opened like La Josie – meanwhile it seems like any drinking establishment worth its salt now has to stock a selection of premium mezcals. Clearly something is going on here. Read more

When Madison crossed with mezcal

The last thing on my mind when I planned my mini reunion with college friends in Madison, WI was mezcal. Yes, mezcal is always on my mind in some form or another, but this was vacation. Joke on me because Madison actually has quite a little mezcal scene happening. The center of beer and a shot of brandy has fully embraced the cocktail explosion and has made mezcal a centerpiece. Read more

David Suro on the agave price spike

Yesterday Siembra Valles and Tequila Interchange Project founder David Suro posted the following to Facebook on the agave price spike that everyone has been discussing over the past months. In July it seemed like 18 pesos a kilo was extravagant, that was a huge topic of discussion at Tales of the Cocktail where the focus was on agave syrup as a culprit.  Now it sounds like the price has crept even higher and the debate has expanded.

In the comments, Jake Lustig from Haas Brothers, which includes mezcals like Don Amado and Mina Real, blames diffusers and industry consolidation in a really sharp cost breakdown. David Suro’s conclusion is much the same of many others concerned with this issue: In the comments he says “If you have someone showing you an Agave spirit below 25.00 USD its just a big red flag! At this time is absolutely no way that those prices are sustainable and ethical.” So that’s something we here in the U.S. and globally can clearly influence. Take note bartenders and buyers!

 

 

 

Catching up with Emma Janzen

The cover from Emma Janzen’s book.

(As you’ll read Emma is Chicago based so it’s only natural that we have a book release party during this weekend’s Mexico in a Bottle Chicago pre-game show. We’ll be at Estereo 3-6PM this Saturday so drop on by to talk to the author yourself and have a cocktail while you’re at it.)

I had the pleasure of meeting Emma Janzen at Tales of the Cocktail this summer but it’s only since then after reading “Mezcal: The History, Craft & Cocktails of the World’s Ultimate Artisanal Spirit” and chatting with her that I’ve had the chance to unpack the themes in her book and the process that she took to get there. Read more

Agave: Spirit of a Nation

Looky here, a new documentary about mezcal from the people who brought you Decanted featuring some of our favorite people in the mezcal world including Graciela Angeles, Aquilino Lopez, and Carlos Camarena. It won’t be ready for release until early 2018 so stay tuned…

 

 

Chicago here we come…

It’s that time of year again where we take the show on the road and bath the streets of Chicago with mezcal. We’re so excited to be returning to Chop Shop on October 15th for year two of Mexico in a Bottle Chicago!

This year is particularly poignant given the event is happening in the wake of two devastating earthquakes in Mexico. For that reason, we are very pleased to be partnering with SACRED, a non-profit based in Chicago that works with mezcal producing communities to support community libraries, agave replanting projects, and water preservation.

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