There is irony here. For eons in Mexico at bars and restaurants, most carried house mezcales, note lower case and not Mezcales. Someone usually had a connection through family or friends and offered them in glass or plastic jugs behind
[gallery ids="25328,25387,25388"] When we started selling the Mezcal Tasting Journals we weren't exactly sure how they'd be received. We certainly love them and have been using them for all our tastings ever since Tess Rose Lampert showed them to us. She'd developed the format along with Portland's 33 Books Co. which has a number of other tasting journals. One of the things that I liked immediately about the format is
[caption id="attachment_5616" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Mexican craft beers abound[/caption]
In sum, three things that are definitely on top of trend watch in Oaxaca and a fourth that is still trending-craft beer, pulque, cocktails, and bed and breakfast/airbnb/palenque stays. I am taking <overpriced> tasting menus off the trend list because sadly, it seems this trend is no longer a trend but a thing here to stay. Or as I like to say, consistently the most inconsistent meal option in Oaxaca.
[caption id="attachment_6597" align="alignleft" width="240"] The Gracias a Dios lineup[/caption] I have to hand it to the guys at Gracias a Dios (GAD) or www.thankgad.com - that is one clever URL for the brand. I had a chance to visit their palenque - a two birds with one stone event so I could see my friend Norma and visit the palenque. She lives in Teotitlan and puts on some pretty incredible textile and culture tours. We set up a time to meet at the GAD palenque and get a special tour and tasting with Maestro Mezcalero Oscar Hernandez Santiago. Of course I got lost because my GPS disconnected and the directions sent us off in the complete opposite direction in Matatlan. Note to travelers - google maps is great and amazing, except of course when you have no phone reception which crazily enough, I didn't in Matatlan. The palenque is on the edge of town as you head south on 190. It is a beautiful piece of property and will eventually be a centerpiece of the new style of mezcal travels in Oaxaca - a bread and breakfast on palenque property. It is now available to book through Airbnb.
[caption id="attachment_5862" align="aligncenter" width="450"] The Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, D.C.[/caption] In the spirit of transparency, here's some background on how the whole idea of how Mexico in a Bottle - Washington, D.C. came about: DC is my hometown, but now, my immediate family lives with me on the West Coast. I miss DC, I miss my friends, and I really needed to come up with a reason to visit. Then there was a random meeting and conversation I had with Pati Jinich, the terrific Mexican chef, culinary anthropologist, and resident chef at the Mexican Cultural Institute in DC. She told me that the Mexican culinary scene in Washington was growing. A seed was planted and I told Max that DC needed to be on our shortlist of event cities for 2017.