It’s been weeks since Mezcal Week but we’re still living off the fumes. We had so many awesome events spread across the world that we’re in awe of all the creative ideas and fun times – all in the name of mezcal. Things went so well that we’re already setting up Mezcal Week 2017 November 5-12 culminating in Mezcal: Mexico in a Bottle San Francisco on November 12th.
From Australia to New York, Seattle to Oaxaca, it was quite a celebration of all things mezcal, and a truly visual representation of how widespread the mezcal scene is now. Here are just five examples of all the cool stuff that happened during the week. We’ll be archiving the 2016 site pretty soon so all of this will be available through a link there – but the main thrust of the site will be on 2017 starting in January.
The Los Nahuales Special Edition No. 1 is the first and, hopefully only the first, in a series of special editions from one of the longest standing and most prominent mezcal brands in the United States.
– Location: Santiago Matatlán
– Agave: 41.3% wild cuishe Agave karwinskii and 58.7% Sierrudo, a type of Agave americano.
– Maestro Mezcalero: Karina Abad
– Quantity: 1520 bottles. The majority only available through K&L Wines. 720 bottles are distributed by Craft Distillers
– Distillation Date: April/May 2015
– ABV: 48%
– NOM: O14X
This is the fruit of another of those mezcal world happenstances. While hanging out at Marco Polo with Karina Abad who manages Los Danzantes’ entire production Ansley Coale and K&L Wines’ David Driscoll cooked up the idea of Karina doing a batch all on her own. The rest is in the bottle but you can get a portion of the foreshadowing and narrative in Driscoll’s blogging about that trip. Read more
Left to right, Susan Coss, Raza Zaidi, Judah Kuper, and Ivan Saldaña.
The evening before this year’s Mezcal: Mexico in a Bottle San Francisco we hosted a panel titled “What We Talk About When We Talk About Sustainability” to dig into the raft of questions about sustainability in the mezcal industry. Aside from our debt to Raymond Carver the panel was inspired by the consistent questions from drinkers and bartenders throughout the world about how mezcal can be made in a way that ensures environmental, cultural, and economic sustainability.
The topic comes up in almost every conversation and since we had a team of brand heavyweights in town the moment was ideal for the discussion. Susan Coss moderated the discussion between Judah Kuper from Vago, Raza Zaidi from Wahaka, and Ivan Saldaña from Montelobos. We were also privileged to host many other brand representatives in the audience including Fidencio’s Arik Torren, Erick Rodriguez, William Scanlan, and more. Read more
Long known for her flagship espadín La Niña del Mezcal’s Cecilia Murrieta is releasing intriguing bottles that span the agave spirits universe.
– Location: San Pedro de la Cueva, Sonora
– Agave: Agave yaquiana
– Maestro Mescalero: Rafael Encinas
– Bottle: 627 / 1000
– Batch No. : B001
– ABV: 48%
Bacanora has had it’s own Denominación since 2000 but it’s been traditionally produced in Sonora for quite some time. Unfortunately not many variations are imported, mostly we’ve had to rely on samizdat bottles that we bring in ourselves or find on friends’ bars. To date the most prominent brand imported in the United States is Cielo Rojo. Read more
Sure it’s the lead up to the holidays so it’s time for mammon to come full bore but no, we didn’t plan on unleashing our new t-shirts on you just to grab a quick buck from the consumerist whirlwind. No, we had higher motives, we wanted to get our t-shirts in front of Mezcal: Mexico in a Bottle participants and, since that tasting was November 13th, it all just sort of worked out this way. And, there always was that idea of holiday related commerce in the back of our heads.
Anyway, we are happy to unleash our latest t-shirt design and two variations on previous classics. Everyone at Mezcal: Mexico in a Bottle was in love with them, we sold tons, got tons more compliments, now it’s your turn. These shirts are printed on American Apparel or Next Level shirts in both men and women’s sizes so make sure to specify which. Women’s sizes run small so keep that in mind when ordering.
Our new design is Pinche Topes which translates into “F…..g Speed bumps” for, as anyone who has traveled to Oaxaca knows, speed bumps are everywhere, in town, the highway approaches to towns, unmarked in the middle of nowhere on a highway – the the exclamation is common and bundles together so many things that are wrong with Mexico. But it’s also a metaphor for life in a minor key, no matter what you’re going to run into speed bumps, the real question is how you deal with them.
We brought back our Quitapenas and El Prometido (men’s in orange, women’s in purple) designs because they’re much loved classics. Seriously, we strive to give the people what they want!
Lots of people have asked about these designs since our last print run so have at it!
Just in time for the holidays we have a great way to burn through another five minutes of your boss’ time – watch this, then jump down below.
YO SOY MEZCAL | Documentary Trailer from Eric Wolfinger on Vimeo.
We’re proud to have shown this previous to our sustainability panel on Saturday, November 12th, the night before Mezcal: Mexico in a Bottle San Francisco this year. The filmmaker behind this effort, Eric Wolfinger, introduced it and chatted with the audience a bit about the project. We’ll be talking to him in more detail soon because this is quite a stunner. Read more
It’s a wrap! Sunday’s Mezcal: Mexico in a Bottle is officially in the books as an unmitigated success. Thanks to everyone who attended, our ticket buyers had a fantastic time and everyone who presented, poured, cooked, imbibed told us they loved it and can’t wait to come back. Extra special thanks to Michael Skrzypek for taking the photos that you’ll see below because they really bring the entire tasting alive in ways that words fail.
Just to lay out the basic and highlights: Read more
Monday, November 7th, saw eight bartenders throwing down for the grand prize title of our 2nd Annual Mexico in a Glass Cocktail Contest. For this contest we ask a lot of the bartenders —
- Create a unique mezcal cocktail recipe you think embodies Mexico.
- Batch your product to serve 70 people
- Submit to the judgement of the audience the audience
- Be creative with your set up.
And man oh man did they deliver. Read more
This won’t last forever without sustainable practices.
Now that the new NOM 70‘s categories of Ancestral, Artisanal and Mezcal are here it’s time to consider how the Law of Unintended Consequences is going to impact the mezcal world. As we’ve outlined before, 70 increases transparency for the consumer in understanding what is in their bottle and how it has been made. Can you think of another spirit that goes to these lengths?
But don’t confuse this new labeling system with sustainability – that’s a completely separate issue that everyone is grappling with in one way or another. It’s an especially hot topic now because mezcal is growing at a galloping pace: 2016 mezcal sales are set to outpace 2015 by more than 20%.
How to drink sustainably?
So many copitas to fill.
What a difference a year makes. Last year we had a full house of mezcals at Mezcal: Mexico in a Bottle. There was a great mix of small and medium batch production, seven of the eight states in the denominación were represented, and some new brands launched.
Fast forward to today: We are literally bursting at that seams. The sheer quantity of brands being imported into the United States today is difficult to track. We have plenty of new brands at our tasting which we try to make representative. We’ll have the newly relaunched Los Javis line, Mezcal Malpais from Guerrero, Marca Negra‘s full line, Meteoro, Gracias a Dios, El Cortijo, Siete Misterios and – for the first time at our event – the full line from the Cortes family including Agave de Cortes, Nuestra Soledad, and El Jolgorio. Read more