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A mezcal dinner in the age of Covid-19

Organizing an event after a six month break, especially in the midst of a pandemic, is not like riding a bike again. Learning – and then complying with – all the city, county, and state regulations for outdoor dining requires a massive effort. We should all take a moment to appreciate the lengths restaurants and bars have to go to in order to survive these times; Herculean.

It was odd to be planning a dinner that would in fact be my first social gathering outside of close friends since March. We had no idea what the response would be to this dinner, but what a response it was with 70 guests braving the smoky air from fires raging up and down the west coast. They enjoyed a four course meal prepared by Chef Luis Lagos of The Midway. He put together an incredible meal that included vegetarian, vegan, and meat options.

We kicked things off with a welcome cocktail from Abasolo Whisky – a very Mexican take on the American classic Whisky and Soda, the soda being Topo Chico. Our opening toast was with Wahaka Espadin. We started with a botana of Kampachi marinated in mezcal and sake (or quesillio and tomato jam or hoja santa and tomato jam) paired with Del Maguey’s San Luis del Rio. The primero was a Xololoxotle broth with epazote and tortilla paired with the Amarás Cupreata from Guerrero. The main course was Pork Mixiote with hoja santa in agave leaf (or hibiscus enchiladas) paired with La Luna’s brand new, just in the market ensamble of Chino and Manso Sahuayo from Michoacan and finally, a dessert Chile Relleno with coconut creme paired with the pechuga from La Jicarita. Check out our tasting notes for La Jicarita and La Luna.

There is no doubt that doing events in the time of a pandemic is beyond surreal. I truly hope that, aside from regular hand washing and coughing/sneezing into your elbow, none of this becomes normal because I honestly miss hugging the people in our beautiful mezcal community. A very big thanks to all of the brands that participated and for your generosity in once more stepping into the unknown with us. Also a very big thank you to The Midway for creating such a wonderful space and night. Now that we have tested waters with this kind of event, we are moving forward with our next one – a special Dia de los Muertos dinner on October 28th. We’ll have details soon!

Susan Coss is the Co-founder of Mezcalistas. She is a long time business, marketing and communications strategist in the sustainable food and beverage worlds. Over the past 15 years, Susan's work has focused on promoting the connection between land, farmers and food and beverage crafters.

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