Better mezcal through chemistry

Max Garrone | Mezcalistas

What’s the chemistry in these agaves?

The mellifluously titled “Volatile Compound Profiles in Mezcal Spirits as Influenced by Agave Species and Production Processes” by Araceli M. Vera-Guzmán, Rosa I. Guzmán-Gerónimo, Mercedes G. López, and José L. Chávez-Servia has some tantalizing research into the chemistry of mezcal’s flavor. They were looking at the question of whether chemical variations between different agaves harvested in different areas could account for flavors which, as any of your mezcal aficionados know, is pretty critical to our enjoyment even if most of us, most of the time, don’t dig into the details of chemical analysis.  read more…

What’s missing from Fancy Food?

Max Garrone | Mezcalistas

There was plenty of mole at the Mexican pavilion including this stand from Seasons of My Heart, chef Susana Trilling’s line of salsa’s, chocolates, salts, poleo tea in addition to her mole.

Another year, another Fancy Food. Endless square feet of all the food that you can imagine, so much of it of the highly processed and packaged variety vying to be the snack or high energy food of the future. But this year was notable more for what wasn’t on the convention floor more than for what was.

A dry county

The strangest thing about this year was how dry the place was. The Mexican area didn’t have a single spirit and only a single Mexican wine stand. Elsewhere you’d be hard pressed to find spirits, wines or beers. The notable exception was the jumping Japanese microbrew booth which was never without a line. read more…

Agave price update

Max Garrone | Mezcalistas

Fields of blue agave in the valles region outside of Tequila.

It’s the heart of your mezcal and the culture around it but how much is the actual agave worth and who’s getting paid? And why is it so god damned expensive? There are no easy answers but lots of trends.

For much of this year we’ve been hearing that the price of agave in tequila country has been as high as recent memory. In 2016 it was already expensive at 10 pesos per kilo, then it spiked to 18, 19, and 21 pesos per kilo in the summer of 2017. On my recent trip to Guadalajara I heard some people say the price had softened a bit to the 17-18 peso per kilo range. Meanwhile in Oaxaca the price of agave has been rising as well, but closer to the 10 peso per kilo range.
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CBD and mezcal, pushing the boundaries

Max Garrone | Mezcalistas

The line up of cocktails for the Tacolicious Crab Bender dinner.

Tacolicious‘ annual crab dinners are right around the corner which is always a great opportunity to open up the wallet for a San Francisco tradition but this year they’re doing things a bit differently at the Marina location because the companion cocktails for the meal are all made with mezcal and now that marijuana is legal in California, CBD as well. They’re using El Silencio for all the cocktails and sourcing their CBD from Sonoma Hills Farm.The cooking and mixing with marijuana trend has been bubbling away for some time but, given the legal necessity, always underground. Now that things are out in the open people are starting to experiment and we’re glad to see that mezcal is in the mix. read more…

The year that was, the year that is

Max Garrone | Mezcalistas

This was the past – what’s in the future for mezcal and the wider world of Mexican alcoholic beverages?

It’s that time of year where we try to synthesize some meaning from the past year’s events and make a few predictions about the year ahead. There were certainly cataclysmic events in the world of mezcal in 2017: Huge deals were made, all sorts of new products launched, earthquakes ravaged rural Oaxaca and urban Mexico City. All the while the linear growth of mezcal continued driven by cocktails but there are new trends in higher end boutique bottles as well. Look closely and you’ll see a relatively cohesive set of trends with only a few outliers.


If there is one word that sums up 2017 for mezcal it is “validation.” When big guys like Diageo, Pernod Ricard, and Bacardi get into the category through straight out acquisition or distribution deals you know it is not a passing trend. The repercussions of all these moves have barely hit the market yet so 2018 will be the first time we really get to see how this plays out in terms of the mezcal in bottles, the pricing for bars and on retail shelves. We get the sense that this is as much a dating game for both sides of the equation so we expect lots of smaller changes before anything big happens. The first major trend we expect to see is more of the labels priced for cocktails to expand.

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Put the insect back into your cocktail

Put the insect back into your cocktail

You know you’re in good company when someone says “where’s the cricket in here?” about your drink. That’s exactly what Julia Plevin, half of Critter Bitters, told me as we sat down to taste the Critter Bitters Toasted Cricket Bitters. That is the first in, up to now, a two bottle line of bitters based on one of Oaxaca’s culinary claim to fame, the toasted cricket aka chapuline. (If you want to cut to the chase, get your bottles today!)

To back up a step or three, Julia had emailed me a while back looking for ideas to fill out her Oaxaca trip and we hit it off. I couldn’t quite believe that I’d missed this whole idea of bitters made from crickets, I mean, I’ve had cocktails rimmed with sal de gusano, garnished with crickets as well as ant larvae. But those were all in Mexico and here was a woman saying that they were making bitters out of crickets, right here in San Francisco? What a discovery. (more…)

San Diego Reconnaisance

A blessing and a curse is expanding Mexico in a Bottle to a new city. There is a certain amount of research to understand the market, the food and cocktail scene, and of course determining the best location for the event. This is fun, but also a bit exhausting to say the least, and training oneself to only take bites, or sips, is especially difficult when you come across something truly delicious and just want to eat, or drink, it all. read more…

Mezcal’s "New World Order"

Sure, the Thanksgiving break intervened but we wanted to take a quick minute to talk about the second annual Mezcal Week. It was great all around with tastings, art openings, special menus, you name it. And it was truly global with events on three continents spanning mezcal flights, special cocktails, special menus, and art openings. The culture of the bar and Mexico combined for one week for extraordinary results. We certainly had a great time and heard nothing but fantastic things from participants around the world. A few highlights: read more…

Mezcalistas Merch – T-shirts & Calendars

The 2018 Mezcalistas Mezcalero Calendar - Get yours today, 100% of proceeds go to Mexican earthquake relief.

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