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When is mezcal, not mezcal?

Yesterday it was announced that a watered down version of NOM 199 passed: Except instead of mandating that any mezcal not produced within an already defined appellation and certified by the CRM be called “Komil,” it says that these spirits must now be called “Aguardiente de Agave.” To understand who will need to use this terminology see our previous post on the impact of the original proposal; all you need to do is replace “Komil” with “Aguardiente.”

This is being pitched as a triumph for everyone but Read more

Tasting Notes: Mezcalero Special Bottling No. 2

 

This is the second in Craft Distillers’ Special Bottling series. First came the Mezcalero series, then this. The quality is amazing.

Mezcalero Special Bottling No. 2

The details:

  • Location: Santa María La Pila, Mihuatlán, Oaxaca
  • Agave: Dobadaan aka agave rhodacantha
  • Maestro Mezcalero: Don Valente Ángel García Juárez
  • Quantity: 768 bottles
  • Distillation Date: October -November 2012
  • Bottled: March 2016
  • ABV: 48.76%
  • NOM: O14X

 

 

Background:

You can taste continuity in this bottle. Read more

Taking the mezcal out of the box

Tosba boxPuns and seasonality aside I really am stunned by the leaps in mezcal world design. Bottle shapes and label design have always expressed the awesome creativity seeping out of Mexico but now people are creating all sorts of other containers. This last trip to Oaxaca presented me with two: Hopefully this article will prompt still others. Rest assured I’m also working on a piece specifically about label and bottle design so send me your thoughts on those fronts as well. For now I just want to talk about a few boxes.

Wood boxes for alcohol have always been special. Read more

Tasting Notes: Alipús San Andrés Ensamble

The Alipús line continues to evolve. The latest addition is an ensamble which originally was designed to replace the San Andrés, now it appears it will complement it. The details:

The front label of the San Andres Ensamble.

The front label of the San Andres Ensamble.

  • Location: Santa María La Pila, Mihuatlán, Oaxaca
  • Agave: 80% Espadín, 20% Bicuishe
  • Maestro Mezcalero: Don Valente Ángel García Juárez
  • Quantity: 800 bottles in this batch. More to come.
  • ABV: 47.2%
  • NOM: O14X

Background:

As with its predecessor, the San Andrés Ensamble carries the pink label of the Alipús line because it is also made by maestro mezcalero Don Valente Ángel García Juárez in the same location as the original San Andrés. That original was made solely of espadín and quickly Read more

Putting the mezcal into Mexrrissey

Last night’s Mexrrissey concert at the JCC in San Francisco was quite an affair. Our mezcal tasting beforehand with Raza Zaidi of Wahaka, Lynne Bauer pouring Alipus, and Adrian Vazquez pouring Almamezcalera was quite a hit with the crowd that was a hybrid of the original Morrissey demographic, younger Mexicans, and a few groups that we couldn’t identify.

One thing is for sure, everyone had a blast of time. There was lots of screaming and dancing; you know you’re doing well when even the ushers and security people are bopping along to the music.

Here’s a taste: Read more

Mezcal’s European challenge

Finding time for mezcal in Italy can be a challenge given competition like this.

Finding time for mezcal in Italy can be a challenge given competition like this.

My recent European swing meant that I was most frequently focused on things other than mezcal like wine, beer, the European cup, and Romanesque architecture. But I did make plenty of time to stop in at liquor stores, chat up bartenders, and other cognoscenti to see what’s up with mezcal in the old world. The results are wildly disparate and, given that I only visited three countries, my observations are skewed but here’s a quick field report. Read more

Morrissey, mezcal, and Mexico

MexrisseyAt first you may not think the three things have much in common but Mexican cover bands have been remaking Morrissey obsessively with fantastic results for years and Mexrrissey in particular has taken that idea to its logical conclusion; a traveling show of Spanish language covers of Moz’s greatest and most interesting songs. There are even Smiths covers on the line up. Listen up: Read more

What are you fighting for? The ultimate Lucha Libre/Taquiza/Mezcal event!

What happens when you combine Lucha Libre, Tacos and Mezcal? We now have the answer – La Lucha de la Cocina! Mezcalistas is beyond excited to be working with La Cocina, one of the most amazing non profit organizations here in the Bay Area, and Pro Wrestling Revolution. This fundraising event will take place August 13th at Pier 70 in San Francisco. Read more

When political unrest and mezcal collide

This is not a post to try and explain the current upheaval in Oaxaca, or go into the long history (and more recent) of why the teacher’s are striking. It is a highly complex and sensitive issue with people losing their lives and livelihoods. This is merely to look at the situation through the mezcal lens, given the boom in Oaxaca and the increased awareness of the city, state and culture because of it. Read more

Mexico in a Bottle, NYC Style

Check out our wrap up of our first Mexico in a Bottle outside of San Francisco. There is just one way to sum it up – beyond swell. We landed Friday night and hit the ground running, with our first stop at the Spotted Pig – a cold beer, a pigs ear salad and chicken liver toast. Fortification for the night ahead, which began and ended at Cosme. Because really, what more do you need than that? Edgar Morales was behind the bar and did us right with some pretty tasty cocktails. We then moved on to a couple of lovely copitas of mezcal (bartender surprise!) and toasted the night with James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef Daniela Soto-Innes, who won my heart as she played DJ and couldn’t decide between Janet Jackson and Nick Cave. Read more