14 October 2018

From the bartender’s corner – Jewel of Oaxaca

One of the better cocktails involving mezcal. Mango pulp, fresh lime juice, jalapeno muddled, sugar syrup and mezcal.
Before you taste it, you might want to take in the aroma first. It is all mango. Moment it touches your tongue, the palate is all petrichor. But when you have finally gulped it, the sting of the jalapeno all over your mouth for a long time!

8 October 2018

From the bartender’s corner – Ilegal Mezcal Joven

Region: This Mezcal, like everyone I have tried so far, is also from Oaxaca state.

Agave: This is 100% espadin (specifically anguvstifolia hau).

Roasting: The “pinas” of the espadin agave are slashed and then roasted in underground pits. The pits are lined with river stones to keep the heat in and wood is lit for 5-7 days. The company claims that the wood is bought from certified sellers to avoid deforestation in the state.

Smashing: The slushy pinas are then smashed in the “tahona” by a horses pulling the millstone.

Fermentation: It is then left in vats made of pine wood for 7-10 days for the fermentation process to complete.

Distilling: Like the very first mezcal I had reviewed, the Ilegal Mezcal is also distilled in stainless steel first and then in copper vessels.

This is the Joven version – so it is not aged. It is bottled as a colorless alcohol and sold. They also have the reposado and anejo versions which are aged and therefore, brownish in color. The version available in America is 40% alcohol by volume.

There are stories about how this mezcal found its way out of Oaxaca mostly by smuggling into a particular bar in Guatemala. Of course, now it is done legally.

The petrichor smell is inescapable. The more you let it stay in your palate, the more you will exhale the earthy tones. Once the bite settles in, you can taste some sweetness in the taste.

Tried it chilled one day and one day on the rocks. Rocks is ruled out. It messes up the mezcal. But instead of neat at room temperature, the chilled one was more enjoyable to me.

28 September 2018

From the bartender’s corner – Domo Arigato

I believe that means Thank You in Japanese but I have no idea what Ran Duan – the mixologist at the Baldwin Bar in Woburn, Mass who came up with this cocktail – had in mind when he chose this name.

One of the most interesting ingredient is the couple of drops of sesame oil giving it the faintly nutty aroma. Other than that you have the mezcal, some fresh ginger juice, simple syrup, lime juice and chilled club soda.

Refreshing drink for the evening.

22 September 2018

From the bartender’s corner – Last of the Oaxacans

Finally, I hit upon a mezcal cocktail that I particularly like. This has mezcal, lime juice, maraschino liqueur and green chartreuse. Three fairly strong ingredients (from aroma and palate point of view) that actually co-exist well and let each other have enough space to play with. There is just about the right amount of smokiness for me. Also, I like my drinks a little less citrusy, so I went light on the lime juice. If you fancy a smokier version, use a reposado mezcal.

I am sure you have realized by now that the name is a play on Last Word (cocktail which has all the same ingredients except instead fo mezcal, it has gin) and The Last of the Mohicans. Of course the espadin for the mezcal comes from the state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico.

3 September 2018

From the bartender’s corner: Del Maguey Vida Mezcal

Region: This Mezcal, like the previous one I had reviewed is also from the Oaxaca state. Specifically in Del Maguey distillery in the village of San Luis Del Rio. This mezcal production was started in this distillery back in 1995 – however, this particular bottle launched about 8 years back.

Agave: This is 100% espadin (specifically anguvstifolia type). This particular espadin matures in 7-8 years – a couple of years earlier than the Sacrificio that I reviewed last time.

Roasting: The “pinas” of the espadin agave are slashed and then roasted in underground pits. Different types of wood is used to burn the fire for 3-8 days.

Smashing: The slushy pinas are then smashed partially by windmills and partially by horses pulling a big stone mill when the wind is not blowing. The fermentation itself takes a week to 10 days.

Distilling: The resulting liquid and some amount of the fiber is then distilled. If you remember, all mezcals have to be distilled twice. Vida mezcal is distilled in copper stills heated by burning wood both the times.

This mezcal is then diluted (for the purpose of exporting – Sazerac imports it into America), to bring the ABV down to 42%

This is my second full bottle of mezcal. This appealed less to me than the previous one. I am still a novice in the mezcal arena. But the earthy tones and the smokey nose was less pronounced. In fairness, this is not reposado and therefore is not aged (traditional mezcal is NOT aged).

Clear in color, the liquid has a earthy nose and to the palate, the typical mezcal smokiness is immediately noticeable. It also has some faint traces of wood and spice. The finish was long (longer than the Sacrificio)