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Don Ramon Mezcal

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If you provide them, we will publish your shortened name (first name and initial of last name) and your country location together with your review so that other members of our community know you’re a real human (apologies in advance, Mr Bo Teesdale).An impressive joven mezcal from Don Ramón, produced from 100% Espadín agave. Gently smoky, the sweet woody notes of cooked agave are allowed to shine, making this a good choice for well balanced cocktails. Oh, and the lid is shaped like a jaguar head, which certainly stands out.Prices vary based on delivery destination (it’s a tax thing), so please change it if you’re not shipping within United Kingdom as it might affect the price!

What is Don Ramon mezcal Joven?
MEZCAL JOVEN Mezcal Don Ramón Joven is a transcendent expression of this category of hand-made spirits. Made from 100% Salmiana Agave from Zacatecas, Mexico that has been matured for 8-10 years, this clear spirit embodies the earthen smokiness of mezcal. Cached
This joven mezcal from Don Ramón is produced with 100% Salmiana agave grown in the Zacatecas region of Mexico. The agave matures for eight to ten years before harvesting, and Casa Don Ramón plants two more of the same species in place of each one. With vibrant smoke and citrus, herbaceous agave, and stone fruit, this will work well in a Mezcal Margarita. The black bottle features a rather shiny lid, shaped like a jaguar’s head, which makes it feel extra fancy.

If you’re a fan of Mexican spirits and alcohol then you will have no doubt heard of and tasted the infamous Tequila and its more sophisticated big brother Mezcal. Both traditional Mexican spirits made from Agave, these drinks may be from the same family but they have some key differences that every spirit connaisseur should know. Read our “what is the difference between Mezcal and Tequila” guide to find out more.
Now that you know what’s the difference between mezcal & tequila, why not check out the extensive range of Tequila and Mezcal that we have to offer at Mestizo Market.

Once the distillation process is over, both tequila and mezcal are aged inside oak barrels. However, the different aging categories of the two spirits are defined slightly differentlyThe brand owners/ distilleries that we work with are family, friends, and long- time business associates of 20 years or more who share a love for Mexico and a passion for premium and ultra-premium Tequila, Mezcal, and Agave Liqueur.

What is the difference between mezcal and Joven?
These terms refer to whether or not a mezcal was aged in oak after distilling. Joven, or “young,” mezcal, is clear and unaged, like an eau de vie. Reposado is “rested” in oak for more than two months but less than a year. Añejo is aged for one to three years, and extra-añejo ages for longer than that.
Our brands were personally selected specifically for Southeast Asia and the region and feature bottles that can best be described as works of art, with exceptional taste and each with their own unique brand story.“It’s a salt that’s made of ground-up larvae that live in the agave plants and has a smoky, chile-like flavor that is a great complement to mezcal,” says Nichole Roberts, bartender at El Mero Taco in Memphis. “If a bar has the proper essentials for mezcal, sip it neat with slices of orange that are dipped or sprinkled with worm salt.” The ingredient can also be used in cocktails or as a glass rim to provide an extra smoky element to drinks, she adds.

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Whichever drinkware you pick, sip slowly. “Mezcal is not meant to be consumed as a shot,” says Bamonte. “I prefer to drink mezcal slowly; very rarely is the first sip the same as the last sip. You miss out on that when you shoot it.”

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By 1995, Cooper had begun to import bottlings to the U.S. But it wasn’t just any mezcal he was sourcing—these were artisanal spirits made by individual family palenqueros­ (producers) in old-style villages. Del Maguey became the first producer to credit the village where the mezcal is made, effectively creating the “single-village” designation for the spirit.

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A similar fate hasn’t befallen mezcal just yet, says Mena. “We haven’t planted enough over the years,” he says. “It doesn’t mean we are decimating the species. But it means prices are going up.”Regardless of the compression method, the resulting pulp is fermented and then distilled into mezcal. A small number of mezcals are also aged in barrels.

Who is the CEO of Mr mezcal?
Victor Gutierrez,MD – Owner – Mr. Mezcal | LinkedIn.
“During that time, it’s building up all those chemical deposits that have flavors and aromas that make the end spirit considerably more complex,” says Bank.

How important is agave? Look at the label of a mezcal bottle. The level of detail is unmatched by any other spirits category. In addition to the brand and the name of the mezcalero who makes the spirit, the agave variety (or varieties) used to make the mezcal is often listed, as well as the state or region where the agave was grown. It’s easy to draw parallels with wine grapes and regions.
Tequila sales remain sizzling hot and dwarf those of mezcal—$3 billion in revenue reported in 2018 compared to mezcal’s $90 million—but the former’s rapid ascent has surely helped to catapult the latter onto consumers’ radars.Flavors: Can vary drastically. Mezcal made from the diminutive agave coyote can be deep and dark, while those produced from agave arroqueño, the largest and slowest growing of the bunch, trend toward piquant and green notes.

Bank suggests that consumers note the mezcalero’s name on the label of a favorite bottling and follow their work. To not know who makes your mezcal, he says, “is like raving about a restaurant and not knowing the chef.”
While American consumers are unlikely to welcome higher prices for mezcal, and such raises might slow the spirit’s market growth, an increase is good news for those who make Mexico’s indigenous spirit. The mezcal boom in the U.S. has strengthened the economies of small communities in Mexico where family producers have made mezcal for generations, says Francisco Javier Perez Cruz, founder of Unión de Productores Agropecuarios del Distrito de Ejutla de Crespo, a co-operative of small mezcal producers located in the central valley of Oaxaca.“All alcohol starts life as sugar,” says Lou Bank, co-founder and executive director of SACRED, a Chicago-based not-for-profit corporation that uses education, advocacy and fundraising to increase awareness about mezcal and those who make it. Compared to other ingredients used to make alcohol, like grapes, wheat or even sugarcane, agave takes the longest to grow. The plant takes an additional four years at minimum to mature, with some varieties requiring decades.

How do you drink Don Ramon mezcal?
THE SMOKEY SUNRISE1 ½ oz. Mezcal Don Ramón.½ oz. Agave Nectar.¾ oz. Lime Juice.1 oz. Pineapple Juice.¼ oz. Grenadine.Dehydrated Blood Orange (Garnish)
Danny Mena, a partner at Mezcales de Leyenda, an advocacy organization for mezcal producers as well as a producer in its own right, likens the rise of mezcal to that of single-malt Scotch. Prior to the 1960s, few Americans drank single malts. That changed in 1963, when Glenfiddich began to market its single-malt Scotch outside of Scotland. But demand soon outstripped supply, since good whisky takes time to age.From citrusy and bright to dark and brooding, to laden with chocolate mole and laced with mesquite, this spirit category can have an almost unbelievable range of descriptors. And further flavor combinations can be even more startling: roasted meat, rubber and petrol; lychee, rosewater and bubble gum.

Is mezcal actually tequila?
Both mezcal and Tequila are made from agave, so what’s the difference between them? Basically, Tequila is a type of mezcal. While mezcal can be produced from up to 50 species of the agave plant, Tequila can be made from just one: agave tequilana Weber, or Weber blue agave.
Once harvested, agave piña is cooked to soften the fibers and transform its starches into sugar. The agave is traditionally roasted, although some modern day producers choose to steam it to lessen the smoky character of the final spirit.

Is mezcal good to drink straight?
Similar to other spirits in the agave family, mezcal is great when enjoyed on its own. However, it can also be a refreshing addition to your bar cart, to explore alongside spirits and liqueurs already in your rotation.
Most mezcals tend to be made from a single agave variety, although a growing number of blends, or ensambles, appear on shelves. The following tasting notes, which span just some of the most frequently seen agave types, come from the book Understanding Mezcal (Prensa Press, 2019), by James Schroeder, also a partner/beverage director at Chicago mezcaleria Todos Santos.As Americans discover the palate-thrilling roller coaster ride that it can be, the spirit’s star is undoubtedly on the rise. Consumption of mezcal in the U.S. grew by 32.4% in 2018, according to UK based research firm IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, representing the largest gain among all spirits categories. Admittedly, that jump is from a relatively small base of 261,000 nine-liter cases, but it’s a dizzying trajectory nevertheless, and experts suggest there’s even more growth to come.Bozal Tepeztate (Mexico; 3 Badge Beverage, Sonoma, CA); $80, 91 points. The fruity aroma entwines ripe pineapple and bell pepper. The notably silky palate opens with a pronounced petrol note, which fades to mellower tropical fruit and finishes with plenty of peppery sting. abv: 45% Buy on DrizlyFlavors: Cuixe, largo and tobasiche grow quickly and produce fewer sugars, which offers bitter, coffee-like notes or tart/earthy flavors. Madrecuixe, bicuixe and barril grow more slowly and amass more sugar, which produce brighter, fruitier and sometimes nutty flavors.And so it comes as no surprise that liquor conglomerates are jockeying to add mezcal brands to their portfolios and get in on the action right now. Constellation­ Brands acquired a minority stake in Mezcal El Silencio earlier this year; Diageo purchased Pierde Almas in 2018; and Bacardi (minority stake in Ilegal Mezcal) and Pernod Ricard (Del Maguey) entered the mezcal market in 2017.

While it’s tempting to hone in on a favorite type of agave, experts point out that terroir matters, too. To be called mezcal, the spirit must be made in one of nine Mexican states: Durango, Guerrero, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Oaxaca, Puebla, San Luis Potosí, Tamaulipas and Zacatecas.

What's the difference between tequila and mezcal?
Tequila is a type of mezcal, much like how scotch and bourbon are types of whiskey. Mezcal is defined as any agave based spirit. This includes tequila, which is made in specific regions of Mexico and must be made from only blue agave (agave tequilana), whereas Mezcal can be made from a wide variety of agave.
The cooked plant then gets pulverized. A tahona, a giant stone wheel often drawn by a donkey or mule, is the customary way to crush the agaves. A growing number of distilleries have mechanized this process, which is less romantic, but certainly more efficient. Other smaller producers may use a mallet or machete to smash the cooked piñas.“It started with people who have so much passion for the liquid,” says Mena. “People don’t want it to taste like a cross between rum and Tequila. People want it because it tastes like mezcal.”

“It’s hard to find beautifully handmade spirits,” he says. “There’s care and intention to them. There’s a heartbeat to it that isn’t in spirits that are industrially made.”Luminar Joven (Mexico; DWLL, Los Angeles, CA); $30, 91 points. Sweet almond leads the nose and palate. It opens with gentle cinnamon and almond soon accelerates to a spicy rumble, as black pepper, habanero and cayenne singe the finish. Put together, it makes for a surprisingly addictive sweet heat. Best Buy. abv: 40% Buy on Total Wine & More

Bartenders then helped spread the word of mezcal through cocktails and straight tastings. In 2017, spirits giant Pernod-Ricard purchased a majority stake in Del Maguey.
Cooper, a California native who started his career as an artist, spent three months during 1990 in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, where he lived and made art.Erstwhile Arroqueño (Mexico Erstwhile Mezcal, Brooklyn, NY); $123, 92 points. For those who prefer a smokier mezcal profile, this bottling offers a fresh, lightly minty aroma, but it hits squarely on the palate with a dark, moody mix of menthol, spearmint and smoke. The elongated finish is driven by licorice, star anise and black pepper. abv: 44% Buy on Drizly

Mezcal’s heritage is centuries old, but for many U.S. consumers, the story begins in the mid-1990s. That’s when Ron Cooper, founder of Del Maguey, began to export single-village mezcal to America. Other mezcal producers soon also entered the market.
Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal Espadin Especial (Mexico; Pernod Ricard, New York, NY); $90, 91 points. The remarkable nose is jammed with pineapple and earthy roasted notes, plus a faint touch of vanilla. This mouthwatering mezcal mixes sweet and salty sensations on the palate, along with just the right amount of smoke. It would be an intriguing addition to cocktails. abv: 45% Buy on Drizly“When not creating art during those three months, I traveled far into the countryside surrounding Oaxaca,” says Cooper. “About three days a week, I followed rumors of great, pure mezcals made by farmers, hours down dirt roads far from the capital.”

“Espadín comprises most mezcal made for cocktails, as well as many excellent expressions for sipping,” says Schroeder. By comparison, single-variety mezcals made from more rare agave types can be considerably pricier, and many collectors save them for special occasions.
Montelobos Tobalá (Mexico; William Grant, New York, NY); $100, 90 points. Delicate white flower and coconut aromas lead into a jalapeño-laced palate overlaid with nutty sweetness. The bracing, citrusy finish is mouthwatering. abv: 46.8% Buy on DrizlyMezcal is Mexico’s most traditional agave spirit, and perhaps its most nontraditional in terms of the drinking experience. It can surprise and delight with its extreme range, and it can show terroir like few spirits can.

“Mezcal is not only an alcoholic beverage,” says Perez via a translator. “For us, it’s part of the culture, part of the people, the history of Mexico. It’s an artisanal product.”Creyente Mezcal Joven (Mexico; Proximo Spirits, Jersey City, NJ); $50, 91 points. The aroma mixes honey and floral notes with a zestier zing. On the palate, the balance shifts, with bold zesty-savory notes coming forward and floral and mineral notes taking a more subtle role. A ribbon of smoke ties it all together and wafts into the finish. abv: 40% Buy on Total Wine & More

Do you sip or shot mezcal?
Sip, Don’t Shoot Whichever drinkware you pick, sip slowly. “Mezcal is not meant to be consumed as a shot,” says Bamonte. “I prefer to drink mezcal slowly; very rarely is the first sip the same as the last sip.
A final note: Flavors in finished mezcal can vary widely, depending on where the agave is grown and how the mezcal is made, so consider this a baseline guide.For years, it was pigeon-holed as “smoky,” an easy way to differentiate its flavors from Tequila, which is also distilled from agave. But in reality, mezcal is so much more. Welcome to! By using our website and/or subscribing to our newsletter, you agree to our use of cookies and the terms of our Privacy Policy Where the agave is grown and harvested matters, but where it’s fermented and distilled is just as important. Quality mezcals are also always fermented with wild yeast, which can have a significant impact on its flavor and complexity.

Mezcal is quickly becoming a staple at U.S. bars, but some experts worry that the industry is growing too fast for nature to keep up. Potential agave shortages are increasingly a concern, which could also impact the Tequila industry.
The term mezcal is derived from the Nahuatl word for cooked agave, the paramount plant involved in the spirit’s production. While its tall, spiky green leaves are an iconic emblem of mezcal, it’s the piña, the rounded stem that resembles a pineapple, that’s used to make the spirit.

Who owns Don Ramon mezcal?
Dialce is the parent company of Tequila Don Ramón.
Alipús San Juan (Mexico; T. Edward Wines & Spirits, New York, NY); $52, 94 points. This mezcal made from 100% espadín offers an inviting light coconut aroma. A fruity and smoky core of charred pineapple, burnt orange peel and coconut winds into cinnamon sizzle, hitting all the right notes. Sip or mix into tiki-inspired cocktails. abv: 47.5% Buy on Total Wine & More

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Here are some lessons from the agave road to help you understand what exactly makes mezcal mezcal, why some crystal-clear bottles will run you three digits at the liquor store, and how to navigate the spirit’s mysteries along the way.

This is a gross simplification, but… stick to joven. As Arenstein puts it, “The joy of agave spirits is tasting the agave itself,” and the best mezcals on the market never see a wood barrel. There’s just too much going on in a quality mezcal to sully it with the muting qualities of oak.
Depending on the variety, an agave takes anywhere from eight to 30 years to mature. Once it’s ready—a farmer and distiller’s judgment call as much as any biological marker—the hulking plant is harvested by hand. Agave is fully ripe right before it blooms, but by the time the flower stalk shoots up 10 or 15 feet into the air, the heart is spoiled and unsuitable for distilling. Try again in a decade or three!

Where is Don Ramon made?
Jalisco Highlands Tequila Don Ramon, with its characteristic “Diamond Cut” is synonym of status, richness of flavor and high quality. Made in the Jalisco Highlands from 100% Agave this tequila is acclaimed as one of the most popular tequilas from Mexico.
I’m not going to list a bunch of agave varieties or production regions to seek out; there’s just too much variation between bottles for it to be useful. Instead, here are a few key terms to know and look for on a bottle.Before agave can be harvested, its woody leaves must be hacked away with a machete to reach the heart of the plant, or piña, so named for its resemblance to a pineapple. But unlike the leaves of the aloe plant, which agave resembles but is in no way related to, the sap from agave leaves can irritate your skin. So mezcaleros wield their machetes with caution, and once the pile of mildly poisonous greenery is cleared away, they use their blades as makeshift shovels to dig the chubby piña out of the earth.Freshly dug from their pit, the roasted piñas looked like the husks of ancient beasts. A ripe piña, the heart of the agave plant, can weigh 200 pounds, and after sweating it out underground for a week over smoldering stones, the interlocking wounds where the leaves were cut away had caramelized into brown scales. All tequila comes from a single variety of agave: the mild-mannered blue weber. Mezcal, on the other hand, can be made from dozens of agave varieties, and each has its own character, which may express itself completely differently depending on how the mezcal is produced and where the plants are grown. The Mexican states of Durango, Guerrero, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Oaxaca, Puebla, San Luis Potosí, Tamaulipas, and Zacatecas are permitted to call their agave spirits mezcal, and as climate, elevation, and soil composition vary, so too does the resulting spirit. As far as tasting terroir goes, mezcal is as pure an expression of place as a spirit can be. Rey Campero Jabalí: Everything from Rey Campero is excellent, but this bottle is especially remarkable. Jabalí is a pain to grow and a bigger one to distill, so it’s rare to see a pure jabalí bottle on the market. Every time I taste this, I pick up on something new—hints of orange rind or cacao nibs or fresh flowers. Its real standout quality is how those flavors hit you in waves, with an engaging acidity and resounding body that leaves you tasting it long after it’s gone.Before distillers had access to metalsmithing technology, they used clay jugs. Some still do today (look for “en barro” or “distilled in clay” on the label), and though the method is hardly efficient, it adds a smooth, mineral, tongue-drying quality that’s quite complementary to some mezcals. Other mezcaleros use copper stills instead. If a mezcal brand is truly proud of the product in their bottles, they’ll usually tell you which method they used on the label.And it is, but if you really want to understand why this once-obscure spirit poured for Cancun revelers on dares is all the rage these days, you have to understand it on its home turf. All drinks come from somewhere, and reflect the values of those that make them. But nothing captures a place and a people like mezcal, a spirit that Mexicans have been making the same way for hundreds of years. That is, with Herculean labor guided by intuition and hard-won experience.

Fresh-roasted agave tastes like grilled corn and singed tropical fruit, mingled with the desert breeze. But more than that, it tastes distinctly of Mexico, specifically the vast arid plains and sun-soaked hills of places like rural Oaxaca. Sampling agave this way, it becomes clear these tastes couldn’t emerge anywhere else. You are acutely aware that it’s the product of this land and the people that live there.During my visit, the batch in the barrels was fermenting in two stages: a “dry” ferment of just the pulp and its juices, followed by a “wet” ferment with added water. If the fermentation process was stopped there, you’d have a lovely beer-strength drink called pulque, which tastes delightfully refreshing on the palenque but, by the time it makes its way to the city, continues fermenting into something downright funky.

Mezcal is a class of handmade agave spirits from Mexico that’s suddenly the apple of everyone’s eye. If you’ve set foot in a cocktail bar in the past 10 years, you’ve probably sipped the spirit in some elaborate mixed drink, or overheard a bartender holding court on the stuff as a seductive, smoky elixir.
Of course, there’s more to mezcal than one wee guide can contain, but the best way to learn about the spirit is to taste as much as you can. I’ve picked up some favorites over the years, included on the list below, but in the name of journalism, I headed to Arenstein’s bar for a tasting session of 30 mezcals. This is a small fraction of the 200 or so agave spirits he’s acquired, many of which aren’t even distributed in the US.

Cruz de Fuego Tepextate: A 100% wild-agave mezcal that doesn’t break the bank. It’s exceptionally fragrant, with notes of pine, white pepper, green chile, and other fresh vegetables. The smoke is delicate—a great reminder that mezcal is about a lot more than smoke—and the body is light and refreshing.
In modern tequila production, distillers convert agave starches into simple fermentable sugars by steam-roasting the piñas in fast, efficient ovens. To make mezcal, they dig a big pit. The principle is the same as a pig roast or clam bake: Light a large fire, heat rocks over it, then layer a hundred or more piñas over the rocks and cover it all with soil. This earthen oven slowly roasts the agave anywhere from a couple days to a week, and is the crucial step that gives mezcal its famous smoky flavor. Every mezcalero has their own roasting technique, and if they screw up the roast and burn the agave, that’s the end of that batch.Vago Ensemble en Barro (2017 bottling): A small batch, so get it before it’s gone (look for the red label, not tan). This ensemble cuts espadín with small amounts of three wild varieties, all distilled in clay for a bracing mineral taste and soft, round texture. Gorgeously complex, with a strong core, but never overpowering.

This is how Lopez does it, and as a point of pride, most premium mezcal brands include details about the production process right on the label. But it’s far from the only way mezcal is made. Regional differences in agave cultivation and processing abound, and as the mezcal industry gains (profitable) traction across the world, some of the industrial technologies that have come to define tequila production are creeping their way onto palenques, such as mechanical shredders to crush the piñas into pulp and steam-pressure autoclaves to cook them. Generally speaking, fully handmade mezcal remains the best mezcal on the market; there are just too many variables in mezcal production to preserve its finer nuances on an industrial scale.
One of the mezcaleros whacked a machete into a heart, flicked his wrist, and dug out a steaming chunk of agave for me to taste. “You’ll understand mezcal a lot better after you try this,” said Francisco Terrazas, my guide to the Mezcal Vago palenque (distillery) in rural Oaxaca. Vago Elote: A unique espadín with toasted corn infused into the mezcal during the second distillation, made at the palenque you see in the photos above. You don’t notice corn so much as a savory, nutty richness that brilliantly complements the roasted agave. Lopez distills most of his mezcals twice, though some palenques opt for three distillations. Like everything else in mezcal, each step is an opportunity for a mezcalero to leave their mark on the product. One of Vago’s most popular bottles is Lopez’s Elote, for which he takes the unusual step of adding toasted corn to the ferment during the second distillation to infuse the spirit with a nutty caramel character. Finally, you have mezcal. That is, assuming its acid, methanol, and aldehyde levels fall within the numbers dictated by the Consejo Regulador, and they’ve approved the methods of production. And one more thing: Unlike most whiskies and brandies, which are diluted with water after distillation to a uniform 40% alcohol by volume, the best handmade mezcals are bottled at full strength to preserve the integrity of the agave flavor, which is good news for us drinkers, but another cost mezcal distillers must swallow to make their product right. The world of agave spirits is so vast, it doesn’t have a name. Mezcal is one class of those spirits. Tequila is actually a kind of mezcal, in the same way that Cognac is a type of brandy. And there are lots of spirits that are made from agave in a nearly identical manner to mezcal, but for various reasons don’t meet the government classifications, such as raicilla, sotol, and bacanora. Some of these distinctions come down to regional differences and nomenclature, or, just as likely, the Byzantine regulations of the Consejo Regulador del Mezcal, the government body that inspects and regulates mezcal production in the nine states in which it is sanctioned. But thanks to mezcal’s growing global popularity, you can find many of them in liquor stores these days right beside the mezcal and tequila.This tradition is what drew me to Oaxaca. I’ve spent years winding down the rabbit hole of agave-based spirits, and Vago makes some of the best mezcal I’ve tasted. Plus, I never turn down the chance to ride in the back of a stranger’s pickup truck to taste something new and wonderful in the wilderness.

These terms refer to whether or not a mezcal was aged in oak after distilling. Joven, or “young,” mezcal, is clear and unaged, like an eau de vie. Reposado is “rested” in oak for more than two months but less than a year. Añejo is aged for one to three years, and extra-añejo ages for longer than that.From there, the mashed agave pulp gets shoveled into open-air wooden barrels to ferment for four to 10 days, with the exact time determined by the weather, the agave variety, the intensity of the roast, and the mezcalero’s judgment. Again, there’s no rulebook here; you just have to sniff the wind and know.

The vast majority of mezcal comes from just one type of agave—the friendly, easygoing espadín. It has a short growing period—just eight years or so—and a relatively high yield per plant. Unlike most agave varieties, it can actually be cultivated by farmers. And, critically for the booming mezcal business, it’s the most sustainable choice for making mezcal. Once you uproot a piña, that’s it—the plant’s done, with no chance to reproduce—and growing demand for mezcal has stripped Mexico’s wild agave stock to dangerously low levels. In many ways, the future of mezcal will be written by the efficiency of espadín cultivation.

Del Amigo espadín: This is Arenstein’s well mezcal, and it packs a lot of quality into a digestible price tag. It’s fresh and easy-drinking, with a bright twang, bold smoke, and base salinity that make it great for mixing.
Assuming the agave isn’t scorched, the next step is to mash the piñas so they can ferment. The mezcalero starts by hacking the hearts into palm-size chunks with their machete—a size small enough to be crushed under a tahona, a big stone wheel pulled in a circle by an ox, bull, or burro. This is actually the high-tech approach for handmade mezcal; there’s also a method that involves sandwiching a piña between two pieces of wood and beating the hell out of it with a sledgehammer until the juice runs free. It’s up to the mezcalero to decide which method is best for any given batch of mezcal.

He also cautions against expecting consistency. Since mezcal is about as artisanal as spirits come, flavors and quality can vary wildly from batch to batch. A brand’s espadín bottling one year could come from a totally different producer the next. To make things even more complicated, “The bottles themselves will sometimes drink differently day to day, though in a way that’s hard to quantify scientifically,” Arenstein says, and he goes on to describe some of the experiments he’s running on how different mezcals develop in a bottle over time. “It’s hard to say with any certainty—we just don’t know enough yet—but something definitely happens.”

Which isn’t to say that handmade, traditional mezcal is the only mezcal worth drinking. If you haven’t figured it out by now, making mezcal by hand is literally backbreaking work, and if developing technologies make life easier for the people who make these tasty spirits, you’d have to be heartless to deny them that option. As of now, most industrialization in the mezcal business benefits larger companies rather than small producers, since that’s where the bulk of investments tend to go. But as global demand for mezcal balloons, these technologies offer the little guys an opportunity to add scale to their business while improving their quality of life.

El Jolgorio Barril (Gonzalo Hernandez bottling): Another producer to keep an eye on (look for the modern-art label designs). Before sipping this, a drinking buddy looked around to see where the buttered popcorn came from; that’s how strong and distinct the aromatics are in this wild-agave mezcal. At around $130 a bottle, it’s a super-premium pick for special occasions, but that buttered-popcorn aroma develops into an astonishingly complex sipper. Drink it slowly, and let it take you where it wants to go.
Arenstein’s first lesson is a big one: The true test of a mezcal is how it tastes neat. Agave spirits don’t “bloom” with water the way whiskey does, and in Mexico, mezcal is meant to be sipped from small clay cups or glasses, not shot or mixed.El Silencio espadín: Another affordable bottle, though not on Madre Mezcaleria’s menu. Mild smoke, sweet fruit flavors up front, and a fatty body that transitions to a clean finish. Eminently mixable, and a solid introduction to the category.Once it’s excavated, they repeat the process again—and again, and again, over a hundred times, just to gather enough piñas for a single batch of mezcal.

That said, using espadín comes with a trade-off: Compared with mezcal made from wild agaves, espadín can taste a little… basic. Which is okay—it’s a clean canvas for a mezcalero to show off all their skills, plus it works nicely in cocktails. As mezcal nut Noah Arenstein, director of operations and head barman at Madre Mezcaleria in Brooklyn, puts it, “A lot of people pooh-pooh espadín, but it’s popular for a reason. It makes really good mezcal with a balanced sweetness and often a pronounced herbal note. In the right hands, these are some of my favorite mezcals around.”

Like Scotch whisky, mezcal comes blended and unblended; unlike Scotch, one isn’t necessarily better than the other. Single-variety mezcals are just that: made from one type of agave. If you want to get a sense of how different varieties express themselves in the bottle, go for this. Ensembles are blends, combining the attributes of various agaves for a more complex bottle. This is particularly nifty for cutting a primarily espadín distillate with a small amount of wild agave, which can make for a tastier spirit at lower cost than purely wild bottles. These varieties have proven resistant to cultivation, which makes for more expensive mezcal, but they also lend amazing flavors and textures to a distillate. I’m talking mouthwatering feta, stinky blue cheese, ripe peaches, buttered popcorn, horseradish, white pepper… you get the idea. Some common wild agaves to try: cuish, madrecuixe, tobala, mexicano, tepeztate, and, my personal favorite, jabalí. Derrumbes San Luis Potosí: Little mezcal makes its way beyond the borders of San Luis Potosí, and this one is especially unusual. For environmental reasons (namely, not much firewood), the state is exempted from the government requirement to roast mezcal-bound agave in wood-fired pits. The piñas in this bottle were roasted in an above-ground oven, and consequently have no smoky flavor whatsoever. Instead, an extra-long ferment yields an impressively tangy spirit that suggests a lemony, feta-strewn Greek salad more than a typical mezcal. If you want to see just how unique and varied agave spirits can be, try this.Wesentliche Cookies helfen uns dabei, die Webseite nutzbar zu machen, indem sie Grundfunktionen wie Seitennavigation und Zugriff auf sichere Bereiche der Webseite ermöglichen. Die Webseite kann ohne diese Cookies nicht richtig funktionieren.Don Ramon’s range of tequilas have been around for a while, aiming for an upmarket image by recruiting ex-James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan as their brand ambassador. It’s notable, then, that in late 2020 they chose to launch Mezcal Don Ramon. Mezcal is usually seen as a more artisanal spirit than tequila, often made in small batches by family-run distilleries and not making too many in-roads into foreign markets. The bottle certainly stands out, with a cork that’s topped with the silver head of a jaguar, a significant symbol in Mayan mythology. It’s a long way from the days when mezcal was seen as that drink with a grub in the bottom of the bottle. drinkhacker “The Balvenie Stories line of single malts has s “Independent bottling isn’t just for whiskey a “First questions first: Who is Eric LeGrand? Why “In his 26-plus years in distilling, George Teic “Our coverage of Pinhook’s Vertical Series has “Since receiving a copy of Backcountry Cocktails Load More Follow on Instagram