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Mezcal 101

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Long time readers of this blog will be forgiven for their dismay because they are always asking us to lead Mezcal 501 seminars but we’re going back to the basics exactly because we also hear from many people new to the joys of mezcal and we decided it would be best to proceed in a deliberate and linear manner. For once, at least. Plus, we’re getting awfully tired of reading these ill informed “tequila’s smoky” cousin articles Read more

Bagasso

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Pulling the bagasso after a distillation run.

Bagasso is the cooked and pulped agave fibers that remain after making mezcal. The term has a round about origin, it probably started in Spanish as bagazo which migrated to the French  bagasse and then came back into Spanish as bagasso relatively recently. At least that’s Read more

We’re fighters and lovers

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It’s been more than a week since the awesome Lucha de la Cocina and now that we’re finally back on top of the world, or recovered, we’ll share some photos and a quick recap. We had close to 2,000 people which was an amazing turn out. And, it was for the greatest of causes, a fundraiser for La Cocina! Read more

Lucha, mezcal, beer, tacos: What more could you ask for?

Lucha

All right folks, this is your last chance, tickets are going fast so you’d better buy now to get down at a fantastic event this Saturday in San Francisco for a fantastic cause. There’s so much happening at this Saturday’s Lucha at Pier 70 that I have to break down into easy bites Read more

State of the industry update

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Ven a Comer is this year’s MexIAM motto.

Last year’s Mexican Consulate tasting was a good snapshot of what a lot of mezcal makers’ ambitions. As I wrote at the time, there was an awful lot of mezcal out there trying to get into the North American market. The production volumes were enormous, and there were a tremendous number of brands vying for attention. The strange thing is Read more

Capturing the flavors of Mexico, one bottle at a time

I’ll never forget that first sip of Ancho Reyes, the chile liquor from Montelobos. It was of course at a mezcal tasting held, appropriately enough, for the screening of Viva Mezcal at Guelaguetza Restaurant in Los Angeles. Ivan Saldaña, the mad botanist/chemist behind Montelobos Mezcal, pulled a bottle out for some of us to try. This was the spring of 2012: What we now know as Ancho Reyes was months away from launching in the market. At that moment we hadn’t a clue what this was or how it would eventually take the cocktail market by storm. We tried it several different ways – neat, over ice, with club soda and across the board, the reaction was, well, highly enthusiastic to say the least. The flavor was so deep and spicy, it was the perfect essence of smoked chile in a bottle.

With that kind of a track record, you can imagine the buzz about the soon to be launched Ancho Verde. I was lucky enough to get an early try, and to catch up with Ivan to talk about this new addition to his portfolio. Saldaña has a long history in the agave world. As a scientist he has a deep background of studying agaves and how we process flavors, and in 2011, he launched Montelobos Mezcal. He is also a big proponent of pushing for sustainability in the agave world, especially to make sure that  Read more

Cocktails, beer, mezcal and more – this Lucha is going to rock!

It would be fair to say that despite the fact that we do an awful lot of events, we don’t consider ourselves event planners. This is why we are such believers in collaboration. We always try to work with the best of the best who bring their game to whatever event we have going.

This is especially true of the upcoming La Lucha de La Cocina on August 13th at Pier 70 in San Francisco, a collaborative fundraiser for La Cocina, the non profit culinary incubator in San Francisco’s Mission District that helps <primarily immigrant> women start formal food businesses. In addition to the Lucha Libre and Taquiza (taco extravaganza) which we previously wrote about, there will also be three bars hosted by some of San Francisco’s most innovative bars and restaurants – ABV, Old Bus Tavern, and Novela. Read more

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