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.

Validation

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…

How do you say mezcal in Russian?

Well, you start with Mezcal Week! But damn, we love this video that the crew at St. Petersburg’s El Copitas (no, not the St. Petersburg in Florida, this is the one in Russia!) shot to promote what they’re doing to celebrate Mezcal Week. We have it on repeat around the office so, guys, shoot another one of all your tastings so that we can play that as well!

Yes, this is Mezcal Week so make sure to get out there and celebrate mezcal. With tastings across the globe you’re bound to find one year you. Viva Mezcal!

A nice look at Cuish

When it rains documentaries, it can also pour. We just heard about this very affectionate short about Cuish and its founder Felix Hernandez. Cuish bottles mezcal from a collection of Oaxacan mezcaleros and also has a very nicely appointed tasting room in the city of Oaxaca. read more…

Chicago, Chicago

The vasos all ready for Mexico in a Bottle Chicago 2017 participants. Photo: Max Garrone.

Last year when we launched Mexico in a Bottle Chicago, it followed on the heels of a series of openings of mezcal places like Dove’s Luncheonette, Las Flores, Leña Brava, Estereo, and Quiote. Since then only more mezcal places have opened like La Josie – meanwhile it seems like any drinking establishment worth its salt now has to stock a selection of premium mezcals. Clearly something is going on here. read more…

When Madison crossed with mezcal

The last thing on my mind when I planned my mini reunion with college friends in Madison, WI was mezcal. Yes, mezcal is always on my mind in some form or another, but this was vacation. Joke on me because Madison actually has quite a little mezcal scene happening. The center of beer and a shot of brandy has fully embraced the cocktail explosion and has made mezcal a centerpiece. 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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  • Just another mezcal tasting
  • All teams represented this New Year’s Eve. Wishing you all a great and safe evening. And an even better 2018! Salud!
  • @montelobos and The Replacements.
  • You read it right - crickets in bitters or a tincture if you’d prefer. Get the full story at Mezcalistas.com
  • Sunset over Tequila. Thanks @lacatatequila