Cenizo Durangensis is such a versatile agave in terms of the flavors it produces when made into mezcal. Creamy, earthy, rich, and easy to love, it is an ideal variety to taste for those who are just getting into mezcal, and a joy and pleasure for those who are already in love with mezcal. Cenizo works great as an all purpose mezcal, and like espadin, there are a few that are specifically designed to be used in cocktails. For this tasting, we’re focusing on artesanal sipping mezcals to get to know the variety better on its own.
There are more and more mezcals coming out of Durango, so it should be relatively easy to find three Cenizos, the region’s most common variety. The selections below all have abvs around 47%, aim for something similar with any substitutions if possible.
- Origen Raíz Cenizo: A mezcal that blends tradition from Oaxaca and Durango, it features a tahona crush, above ground open air fermentation tanks, double distilled in Oaxacan style small copper pot stills.
- Sacro Imperio Cenizo: A classic artisanal mezcal made with a combination of mechanical and hand crushing, in ground fermentation tanks, and double distilled in a small copper pot still.
- Lágrimas de Dolores Cenizo: A contemporary mezcal that is rooted in local traditional production, this mezcal is made with a mechanical crush, in ground fermentation tanks, and double distilled in copper stills.
If you happen to live in an area with a population from Durango and can score some gorditas, load up on those as the ultimate pairing. The adventurous can try their hand at making them with a variety of fillings like chicharron prensado, frijolitos, and nopal.
- Cheese: Durango has a wide variety of cheeses, so this is a good place to get creative and maybe offer a few selections: alpine cheeses, crumbly cheddar, manchego.
- Veggies: Nopal salad is ideal, but something with fresh green notes like cucumber, snap peas, or green beans work also. Season them up in a light dressing or keep them plain.
- Meat: There are a lot of cattle ranches in Durango, so beef tips, beef jerky, or beef sliced steak would be nice. Chicharron is another option to achieve the umami richness.