To say that Asis Cortés is one of the hardest working guys in mezcal isn’t an overstatement. Since 2008, he has been on the road, evangelizing mezcal and creating a legion of loyal followers. When he first arrived in the
Almost 250 people braved the stormy elements last Friday in Baltimore out of their burning desire to see the special screening of Agave: Spirit of a Nation. Now granted, Baltimore is home to filmmakers Matt Riggieri and Nick Kovacic, but given the always packed house at Clavel, the love of agave is real in that town.
[caption id="attachment_6424" align="aligncenter" width="720"] The Tres Mezquites Palenque[/caption] Over my years of visiting Oaxaca, Asis Cortes and I have never managed to be here at the same time. This trip is no different, but luckily, I was finally able to get out and visit a few of the palenques they work with. Special thanks to Puro Burro and Zack Safron who used to be a San Francisco based bartender. He has since made the leap to Oaxaca which is quite a trend with bartenders. Zach occupies a fascinating spot in the mezcal world: He works closely with Puro Burro which leads trips to Oaxaca geared toward the hospitality industry, and is a bartender at Mezcalogia, Asis' Oaxaca mezcaleria. Zach acts as a kind of connector for the Casa de Cortes "empire" with Mezcalogia and the world outside of Oaxaca. His love and enthusiasm for mezcal, and Oaxaca, cannot be overstated.
[caption id="attachment_5862" align="aligncenter" width="450"] The Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, D.C.[/caption] In the spirit of transparency, here's some background on how the whole idea of how Mexico in a Bottle - Washington, D.C. came about: DC is my hometown, but now, my immediate family lives with me on the West Coast. I miss DC, I miss my friends, and I really needed to come up with a reason to visit. Then there was a random meeting and conversation I had with Pati Jinich, the terrific Mexican chef, culinary anthropologist, and resident chef at the Mexican Cultural Institute in DC. She told me that the Mexican culinary scene in Washington was growing. A seed was planted and I told Max that DC needed to be on our shortlist of event cities for 2017.