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Mezcal

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I liked it as well when I tried it at Junior Merino's Liquid Lab and made the following with it:

2 oz Ilegal reposada tequila

3/4 oz Royal Combier

3/4 oz lemon juice

peel of 1/2 lemon (no pith)

2" cuke, diced

BT grapefruit bitters

Muddle the lemon peel with the liquids, then muddle the cuke with the mess. Shake; fine strain.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I know this is going to be a tough one for those living in areas that have lots of choices and it's probably going to be almost impossible to get a general agreement but I have someone coming to visit from the U.S. who is going to bring me a couple bottles that I can't get where I live. I want one of them to be a mezcal. It's sole purpose in the cabinet will be for mixing but I want a good one. I need to narrow it down to only one for now. Suggestions?


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Thanks for the suggestions. They're in California. I'm most likely going to order the things I want through someone like K&L and have it shipped to their house so all they have to do is bring it with them when they come. I'd like to get several things but I don't want to risk causing them any hassles at the border so I'm keeping it at two or three bottles.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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If you go through K&L, take a look at Embajador. From their site:

This is perhaps the greatest deal I've seen since I took over as spirits buyer last August! If you've ever been curious about high quality mezcal (not the guaranteed hangover with the worm in the bottle) but never wanted to pay $60+ just to experiment, we've just found an amazing, one time only deal. For the past few years, Efrain Nolasco, born and raised in Oaxaca where mezcal is king, has been making organically-certified mezcal. He works with a co-op for local farmers in the small town of San Juan del Rio where the best agave is harvested. We carry two mezcals from him that are 100% organic and the cleanest, most pure mezcals I've yet tasted. Because of our success with these two bottles, he recently reached out to us and told us he's been sitting on two other mezcals that he made before he was certified and that, since he wants to focus on being an organic producer, he's willing to cut us a deal. The Embajador Blanco is made from organic agave but cannot label itself as such - hence the low price! This is smoky, vibrant, tangy, spicy and clean mezcal that can hold its own any day of the week with the pricier Del Maguey bottlings. For $19.99 it is the best price we have ever offered for a spirit of this quality. Mezcal is an underappreciated and overlooked product, but if we continue to get deals like this, it won't be long until the rest of the world starts paying more attention.

I took a gamble on the blanco and it's terrific. I've found the K&L spirits buyers to give pretty solid recommendations.


Edited by vice (log)

 

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I know this is going to be a tough one for those living in areas that have lots of choices and it's probably going to be almost impossible to get a general agreement but I have someone coming to visit from the U.S. who is going to bring me a couple bottles that I can't get where I live. I want one of them to be a mezcal. It's sole purpose in the cabinet will be for mixing but I want a good one. I need to narrow it down to only one for now. Suggestions?

Most of the Del Maguey products are a tad high priced solely for mixing, however their new "Vida" Mezcal is quite delicious and a decent value (comparatively).

The other most commonly mixed Mezcal, at least around here, is named Benesin. Also quite good, though not quite as aggressively funky as the "Vida" (or other Del Maguey products).

Sombre ain't bad either, though that one is all about the smoke.

A bit more expensive, if you can find Mezcalero around, it is fantastic, and only available in CA.


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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A very limited number of bottles of Mezcalero Release No. 2 have made their way to NYC at Astor Wines. Priced at $69.99, which is comparable to Del Maguey Minero and Chichicapa here.


"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure

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Went for drinks at one of my favorite places in DC, El Centro DF, where they have numerous mezcal and tequila cocktails...of which I drank a lot. Tried Sotol reposado (mezcal I guess), amazing stuff, as well as one of their signature drinks, the Red & Smokey: mezcal, agua de jamaica (Hibiscus tea), and chile-ginger syrup. Superb drink.

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Went for drinks at one of my favorite places in DC, El Centro DF, where they have numerous mezcal and tequila cocktails...of which I drank a lot. Tried Sotol reposado (mezcal I guess), amazing stuff, as well as one of their signature drinks, the Red & Smokey: mezcal, agua de jamaica (Hibiscus tea), and chile-ginger syrup. Superb drink.

Sotol is a completely different species from the agave plant although it is in the same family (the same family includes asparagus of all things). Sotol is generally distilled and produced in a similar fashion as mezcal but to me it has a much lighter taste. But enjoyable all the same. I have the Hacienda de Chihuahua añejo and have tried the reposado (the only brand I find in my area routinely) and find them pleasant to sip on their own merits.

In a mixed drink they typically do not come through as strongly as tequila or mezcal does to me.


Edited by tanstaafl2 (log)

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...

~tanstaafl2

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Went for drinks at one of my favorite places in DC, El Centro DF, where they have numerous mezcal and tequila cocktails...of which I drank a lot. Tried Sotol reposado (mezcal I guess), amazing stuff, as well as one of their signature drinks, the Red & Smokey: mezcal, agua de jamaica (Hibiscus tea), and chile-ginger syrup. Superb drink.

Sotol is a completely different species from the agave plant although it is in the same family (the same family includes asparagus of all things). Sotol is generally distilled and produced in a similar fashion as mezcal but to me it has a much lighter taste. But enjoyable all the same. I have the Hacienda de Chihuahua añejo and have tried the reposado (the only brand I find in my area routinely) and find them pleasant to sip on their own merits.

In a mixed drink they typically do not come through as strongly as tequila or mezcal does to me.

Technically Sotol & Tequila are both genres of Mezcal.... drinks currently labeled as Mezcal are made from dozens of distinct species... which is why the Oaxacan producers have been working hard to get a NOM established (I don't recall the status on it.... but there has been a push to get NOMs for Espadin, Tobala & some of the other prized agaves.

If the disperse groups of distillers, growers & wild plant collectors could get organized in an ideal world they would establish at least a dozen distinct NOMs maybe more for each sufficiently differing genre of agave distill.

Even in Jalisco which is so overran by the shadow of Tequila there are dozens of micro-regional distills that are called Mezcal made from agave that is neither Blue Webber nor Espadin, and are not Smoked as in Oaxaca.

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Sotol is a completely different species from the agave plant although it is in the same family (the same family includes asparagus of all things). Sotol is generally distilled and produced in a similar fashion as mezcal but to me it has a much lighter taste. But enjoyable all the same. I have the Hacienda de Chihuahua añejo and have tried the reposado (the only brand I find in my area routinely) and find them pleasant to sip on their own merits.

In a mixed drink they typically do not come through as strongly as tequila or mezcal does to me.

Technically Sotol & Tequila are both genres of Mezcal.... drinks currently labeled as Mezcal are made from dozens of distinct species... which is why the Oaxacan producers have been working hard to get a NOM established (I don't recall the status on it.... but there has been a push to get NOMs for Espadin, Tobala & some of the other prized agaves.

If the disperse groups of distillers, growers & wild plant collectors could get organized in an ideal world they would establish at least a dozen distinct NOMs maybe more for each sufficiently differing genre of agave distill.

Even in Jalisco which is so overran by the shadow of Tequila there are dozens of micro-regional distills that are called Mezcal made from agave that is neither Blue Webber nor Espadin, and are not Smoked as in Oaxaca.

Any bottles from these micro-distillers that manage to make their way into the States? I am always willing to try something different! Other than the Sotol and the Del Maguey Tobala I believe everything I have is either Blue Webber or Espadin based spirits.

My understanding was that mezcal did have a NOM now although it included several species of agave in addition to Espadin under the same NOM. Several of my newer mezcals have a NOM on them although I have an older bottle of Los Danzantes (imported by Del Maguey and now labeled Los Nahuales apparently) that does not have a NOM or the green and white COMERCAM seal described here.

The Del Maguey Tobala I purchased recently doesn't have a NOM or COMERCAM seal on it either interestingly although I suspect it has been around for a few years. The dates on the label are older than those on the bottle of Chichicapa.

Had never paid that much attention to them before but noted that the Sombra has the same NOM (041X) as the Del Maguey Chichicapa. Del Maguey seems to have their finger on a number of mezcals.


If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...

~tanstaafl2

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Sotol is a completely different species from the agave plant although it is in the same family (the same family includes asparagus of all things). Sotol is generally distilled and produced in a similar fashion as mezcal but to me it has a much lighter taste. But enjoyable all the same. I have the Hacienda de Chihuahua añejo and have tried the reposado (the only brand I find in my area routinely) and find them pleasant to sip on their own merits.

In a mixed drink they typically do not come through as strongly as tequila or mezcal does to me.

Technically Sotol & Tequila are both genres of Mezcal.... drinks currently labeled as Mezcal are made from dozens of distinct species... which is why the Oaxacan producers have been working hard to get a NOM established (I don't recall the status on it.... but there has been a push to get NOMs for Espadin, Tobala & some of the other prized agaves.

If the disperse groups of distillers, growers & wild plant collectors could get organized in an ideal world they would establish at least a dozen distinct NOMs maybe more for each sufficiently differing genre of agave distill.

Even in Jalisco which is so overran by the shadow of Tequila there are dozens of micro-regional distills that are called Mezcal made from agave that is neither Blue Webber nor Espadin, and are not Smoked as in Oaxaca.

Any bottles from these micro-distillers that manage to make their way into the States? I am always willing to try something different! Other than the Sotol and the Del Maguey Tobala I believe everything I have is either Blue Webber or Espadin based spirits.

My understanding was that mezcal did have a NOM now although it included several species of agave in addition to Espadin under the same NOM. Several of my newer mezcals have a NOM on them although I have an older bottle of Los Danzantes (imported by Del Maguey and now labeled Los Nahuales apparently) that does not have a NOM or the green and white COMERCAM seal described here.

The Del Maguey Tobala I purchased recently doesn't have a NOM or COMERCAM seal on it either interestingly although I suspect it has been around for a few years. The dates on the label are older than those on the bottle of Chichicapa.

Had never paid that much attention to them before but noted that the Sombra has the same NOM (041X) as the Del Maguey Chichicapa. Del Maguey seems to have their finger on a number of mezcals.

Yup, I knew about the broad NOM for Oaxacan mezcal of specific regions... but now there is a big push from mezcal producers in Guerrero, Michoacan & Morelos who want to be able to export their stuff... but the Oaxacans want to keep a seperate NOM that distinguishes them... and even within Oaxaca there are apparently some rifts because mezcal being distilled in the Mixteca & Tehuantepec regions is being restricted from the current NOM etc,

Tobala is a great example as it its production is concentrated around the town of Tobala in the municipality Santiago de las Minas which is not part of the Mezcal NOM... yet the trendy mezcal bars in Mexico City are falling over themselves to serve it, Del Maguey is shipping it, the local producers are currently being paid a pittance for it and they want a bigger slice of the pie... similar story with the Pechuga mezcals

As far as mezcals from Jalisco or Zacatecas or any other state... no one is really importing them in an organized way if you go into small grocery stores in Mexican communities where the immigrants tend to be from the same towns you will see a few bottles for sale (in Chicago I've spotted mezcal from Guerrero, here in Sonoma County you see bottles from Michocan & the Oaxacan Lower Mixteca region show up)... or friends & relatives just bring them back when they travel.

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As far as I know that one's never been taken off Mayahuel's menu, at least it's on there every time I've been.... Still haven't had it, but seems like a nice complex sour for those who've acquired the taste for Mezcal. (It's probably my favorite spirit.) I might try making it with tequila and a Mezcal rinse/float for my more mezcal-averse girlfriend after reading your impressions. Thanks!


Edited by Rafa (log)

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”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937

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Philip Ward's (phlip) Division Bell which I apparently forgot to post earlier. A challenging drink. Mezcal as the base spirit is a little overwhelming for my taste buds. I usually prefer just a rinse or a mix with Tequila.

I like that one... with the disclaimer that the only mezcal I can get where I live is rather soft and light on the smoke. I'd like to try it with a good mezcal.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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A brand question my local liquor store just started stocking a mezcal (other than Monte Alban). Up until now I had been resolved to wait until I could afford to order a good mezcal online to start exploring the wonderful world of it's smoky cocktails. Has anyone tried or heard of the brad Cusano Rojo? I am inclined to believe it will not be worth purchasing, but if someone has had a positive experience I would love to hear.

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Never had it but have only seen bad reviews of it. Unless you need something to help light the charcoal grill probably best to stay away from it!


If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...

~tanstaafl2

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A brand question my local liquor store just started stocking a mezcal (other than Monte Alban). Up until now I had been resolved to wait until I could afford to order a good mezcal online to start exploring the wonderful world of it's smoky cocktails. Has anyone tried or heard of the brad Cusano Rojo? I am inclined to believe it will not be worth purchasing, but if someone has had a positive experience I would love to hear.

I assume you mean Gusano Rojo? I had some experience with it back in high school, when they were still leaving the worm in the bottle. I gather it's a slightly more classy operation these days (sans gusano), but my advice would be the same as tanstaafl2's.


True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

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That's what I thought from the bottle as well as the price, but I thought I would ask. Sometimes price is deceptive. I guess it stay on the only from the internet list.

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Regarding Cusano Rojo - I am pretty sure that this is the first bottle of mezcal I ever bought. My criteria at the time were 1) the worm (of course) and 2) the price. I think my parents still have it somewhere in their liquor cabinet (almost 20 years later). It is pretty bad.

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Has anyone done any side-by-side comparisons of cocktails made with Maguey's Vida, next to the same cocktails made with more expensive mezcal (e.g., Maguey's Chichicapa)?

I ask because some recipes (e.g., rogue beta cocktail's Black Cat) specifically call for a pricier mezcal, and I'm interested in whether folks that have feel the difference in price is worth the difference in taste.


Edited by Snark (log)

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Has anyone done any side-by-side comparisons of cocktails made with Maguey's Vida, next to the same cocktails made with more expensive mezcal (e.g., Maguey's Chichicapa)?

I ask because some recipes (e.g., rogue beta cocktail's Black Cat) specifically call for a pricier mezcal, and I'm interested in whether folks that have feel the difference in price is worth the difference in taste.

So is everyone just using cheap(er) mezcal, then?

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Reviving this thread as I have just acquired my first proper bottle of mezcal (Del Maguey Vida)

Wow is this a glorious product. I was worried iI would not find the smokiness agreeable in cocktail. . I have a bottle of Laphroaig that I enjoy on its own, but I find overwhelming in most cocktail applications, and I was hoping the mezcal would not be the same. Well, it was not. I found Vida wonderfully balanced, smokey yet fruity, that kind of jammy fruitiness I find so attractive in tequila. A truly fantastic spirit. So to try it out tonight I gave it a whirl in the Oaxacan Old-Fashioned using this recipe.

1.5 Oz Reposado Tequila(I recently bought Peidra Azul at an enormous bargain)

0.5 Oz Mezal (Del Maguey Vida)

1 tsp Agave Syrup(I used Simple, having read about the scam that Agave nectar represents)

1 ds Bittermans Xocoatl Mole bitter

Stir, lowball, rocks, flammed orange twist(Which I sadly skipped, good oranges are just not availible in my area now)

Lovely. Really capture the spirit of an old fashioned, with plenty of flavor to contemplate.

I also tried this, which I found of Cocktail Virgin Slut (One of my three favorite recipe resources, combined with here and Kindred Cocktails)

Last Caress

2 Oz Rye Whiskey (Old Overholt)

0.75 OZ Benedictine

0.25 Oz Mezcal

0.25 Oz Maraschino

2 ds Angostura Bitters

Wow, very nice cocktail. Maraschino and Mezcal seem to play very nicely, something about the smoke fights the Marachino funk so neither take over. The Benedictine hides in the background, providing a lovely honey backdrop . I do love Rye and Maraschino as a combo, and this just works.

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I also tried this, which I found of Cocktail Virgin Slut (One of my three favorite recipe resources, combined with here and Kindred Cocktails)

Last Caress

2 Oz Rye Whiskey (Old Overholt)

0.75 OZ Benedictine

0.25 Oz Mezcal

0.25 Oz Maraschino

2 ds Angostura Bitters

Wow, very nice cocktail. Maraschino and Mezcal seem to play very nicely, something about the smoke fights the Marachino funk so neither take over. The Benedictine hides in the background, providing a lovely honey backdrop . I do love Rye and Maraschino as a combo, and this just works.

Czerquershuus,

Thank you for recommending Dan Carlson's Last Caress. It immediately caught my eye because I thought that the rye + maraschino liqueur combo looked promising. It is at the basis of one of my favorite cocktail, the Brooklyn, and many of its variations including another favorite, the Red Hook.

The aroma was citrus-forward. On the first sip I tasted the rye with a lot of spice, then a hint of lemon, herbs from the Benedictine, long finish. Overall it felt very smooth and had just a hint of smoke from the mezcal in the background.

The rye + Benedictine combination reminded me of the Monte Carlo that I tried a few nights ago. Really good.

10078551316_f71befda88_z.jpg


Edited by FrogPrincesse (log)
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I also tried this, which I found of Cocktail Virgin Slut (One of my three favorite recipe resources, combined with here and Kindred Cocktails)

Last Caress

2 Oz Rye Whiskey (Old Overholt)

0.75 OZ Benedictine

0.25 Oz Mezcal

0.25 Oz Maraschino

2 ds Angostura Bitters

Wow, very nice cocktail. Maraschino and Mezcal seem to play very nicely, something about the smoke fights the Marachino funk so neither take over. The Benedictine hides in the background, providing a lovely honey backdrop . I do love Rye and Maraschino as a combo, and this just works.

Czerquershuus,

Thank you for recommending Dan Carlson's Last Caress. It immediately caught my eye because I thought that the rye + maraschino liqueur combo looked promising. It is at the basis of one of my favorite cocktail, the Brooklyn, and many of its variations including another favorite, the Red Hook.

The aroma was citrus-forward. On the first sip I tasted the rye with a lot of spice, then a hint of lemon, herbs from the Benedictine, long finish. Overall it felt very smooth and had just a hint of smoke from the mezcal in the background.

The rye + Benedictine combination reminded me of the Monte Carlo that I tried a few nights ago. Really good.

Agreed, thanks to both of you for bringing this one to my attention.

Reading the recipe, I thought about using the Mezcal as a rinse instead of integrating it. I expected the final product might need something more olfactorily to stand up to such complexity on the palate, but I mixed it up as written. On tasting from the mixing glass, I was impressed by the harmony of flavors, but did find the aroma lagging behind. So, I pulled down a bottle of Chartreuse that has some fantastic vegetal notes (it's a mid-70s bottling, a dark, musty green) and rinsed a chilled rocks glass with it, then in went the otherwise textbook Last Caress (I used Rittenhouse for the Rye, Vida for the Mezcal, and Leopold Bros. for the Maraschino). The result was thoroughly enjoyable, and remarkably food friendly. I will be making a batch of these the next time I make barbecue.


Edited by KD1191 (log)

True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

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