Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Tastings’ Category

Cala SF launches mezcal dinner series

Call this perks of the job… I recently was invited to the kickoff for a new dinner series at Cala, Gabriela Camara’s Mexican restaurant outpost in SF, centered on mezcal. We’ve written before about the restaurant and its focus on not only sustainable food, but also sustainable mezcal. This was the dinner that really brought it together in a fantastic way.

The brainchild of Cala bar manager Marsilio Gabuardi, the idea is to pair a mezcal with each course. It’s not new, the difference here is that there is only a mezcal pairing – no cocktails, no wine, no beer, just mezcal. This first dinner highlighted Mezcal Amaras, which is pretty much the house mezcal at Cala. The surprise of the night was being able to taste new Amaras expressions, including a tepeztate and cenizo, along with three different espadins and their cupreata. We were joined by Amaras U.S. brand rep Sofía Acosta Rascón and, to the delight of all of us, Gabriela Camara herself. Read more

Oaxaca notes: An encuentro of (many) Maestros del Mezcal

It was a fabulous three weeks in Oaxaca that now feels simultaneously like I was there for forever and that it was all a dream. I’ll just sum it up in five words– so much damn good mezcal.

Max did a great little write up about how the mezcaleria scene is changing, with differentiation coming in style and design and of course breadth of offerings. To my great dismay, I was not able to get to Cuish to see live and in person their newly revamped space. By all accounts, it is beautiful and is at the top of my list when I return. I have such high regard for what Felix Hernandez Monterrosa and Hilda Martinez Popoca have done for mezcal in Oaxaca. When they opened their doors in 2011, Read more

Mezcal: Mexico in a Bottle San Francisco 2016 in glorious photos

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

Sign of the times: The ever growing list of mezcals at Mezcal: Mexico in a Bottle

img_0453

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

Tenzing portfolio tasting

The Cocuy Pecayero line upBecause we are gluttons for punishment, the day after Mezcal: Mexico in a Bottle Chicago Max and I went to the Tenzing Wine and Spirits portfolio tasting. When we put together the calendar we had no idea our tasting was just before the Indie Spirits Expo and that there would be so many people in town. Call it kismet.

Fortified by a hearty early lunch at Little Goat, we walked over to the Morgan Manufacturing building, a beautiful and huge event space with lots of brick. Being San Franciscans we tend to notice brick as we don’t see a lot of it here what with earthquakes and all.

Tenzing has a huge portfolio that focuses on smaller production houses and companies that incorporate biodynamic and organic farming practices. They have a solid mezcal and tequila portfolio. We were particularly interested in trying Read more

Our kind of town

Quiote's Dan Salls prepares his variation on Al Pastor Tacos for Mezcal: Mexico in a Bottle Chicago 2016

Quiote’s Dan Salls prepares his variation on Al Pastor Tacos for Mezcal: Mexico in a Bottle Chicago 2016

Chicago is, to paraphrase Sammy Cahn’s lyric, really our kind of town. And we can’t wait to do it again next year! This town loves its mezcal, evidenced not only by the number of agave centric places that have opened (or will open) in 2016 alone, but also by the enthusiasm of everyone we met. The events leading up to the big tasting day – a special tasting at Las Flores, a Vago event at Estereo, a Dark Matter coffee cupping that included a special mezcal Read more

Why Chicago?

Occasionally someone asks “Why is your next Mezcal: Mexico in a Bottle tasting in Chicago and not my home town?” I can answer in a variety of ways but the easiest and best, because it’s true is that Chicago has become a real mezcal town in the past few years. We’ve been amazed as mezcal popped up in bar menus and then bars flipped from being agnostic to becoming temples of the agave spirit. It really is amazing.

Just take a look at this map to see Read more

We’re fighters and lovers

13932864_10155142943573047_8221363076660370724_n

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

IMG_9881

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