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Mezcal and Dogmatism in Oaxaca: Glasses, Cups, Jícaras & Clay (Part 6 of 7)

It’s hard to dispute that a vessel made of glass is the best medium for drinking mezcal, or any liquid for that matter, because it is neutral. Similarly I would suggest, at least for mezcal, a small half gourd or jicarita arguably provides imbibers with a shape which optimally enables their spirit to open prior […]

Mezcal and Dogmatism in Oaxaca: Agave Species (Part 5 of 7)

“Tobalá [Agave potatorum] is a wild agave; tepeztate [Agave marmorata] takes 35 years to grow.” Yes some, but certainly not all of the mezcal made with the former uses wild tobalá, and some tepeztate no doubt takes 35 years to mature.  But such statements, made as hard-fast truths not subject to discussion, bandied about by […]

Mezcal and Dogmatism in Oaxaca: Alcohol by Volume (Part 4 of 7)

Telling consumers that they should only drink mezcal between 45% and 55% ABV (alcohol by volume) has become somewhat acceptable practice in Oaxaca mezcalerías.  While most artisanal mezcals are within that range, there are excellent products both below and above the “norm.” Spirits consumers who are accustomed to drinking quality yet commercial tequilas or scotches at […]

Mezcal and Dogmatism in Oaxaca: The Cocktail Craze (Part 3 of 7)

I’ve read that the worst way to bastardize mezcal is to use it in a cocktail. Since publication that author has graciously tempered his dogmatism, likely after having realized that promoting mezcal as an ingredient in cocktails helps everyone in the broader alcohol consumption industry. Some bartenders still believe that it is not worth it to use a high quality expensive mezcal […]

Mezcal and Dogmatism in Oaxaca: Reposados & Anejos (Part 2 of 7)

Some say you should never drink reposado or añejo mezcal.  When pressed for a reason they often state that it alters the natural flavors and aromas of the agave.  True enough, but so what? Could one not equally use the word “enhances?” The same industry people, often owners and employees of mezcalerías, however, don’t think twice about encouraging […]

Mezcal and Dogmatism in Oaxaca: Harmful or Just Blowhardism (Part 1 of 7)

By Alvin Starkman, M.A., J.D. Not a week goes by without a visitor to Oaxaca wanting to learn about Mexico’s iconic agave based spirit, and asking a very pointed question:  why are some industry experts in the city steadfastly against common practices relating to imbibing mezcal, such as drinking reposados and añejos, using mezcal to make cocktails, and consuming one’s product choice based on ABV personal preference. […]

Mezcal: Good Drink, Bad Rap

Originally Published May 3, 2003 Mezcal is finally being treated like the class act it is, and it’s making its way north of the border. By Barbara Hansen, Times Staff Writer Oaxaca, Mexico — MEZCAL has a terrible image. It’s fiery stuff, real rotgut, with a worm floating in the bottom of the bottle — […]

Mezcal Production in Oaxaca – More Mezcal is on the Way! by Alvin Starkman

The Maturation of Palenques and Mezcal Production in Oaxaca, 2015: Migration, Certification, Expansion    Alvin Starkman, M.A., J.D. Every two weeks or so I’m asked about the change in the number  of artisanal mezcal distilleries, or palenques, in and around the central valleys of Oaxaca, given the dramatic rise in the spirit’s global popularity over […]

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The Montelobos Mezcal Project

[After The San Antonio Cocktail Conference held in January, 2015, Tequila Aficionado Media caught up with Dr. Iván Saldaña, producer of the upstart mezcal, Montelobos, a partnership project with the makers of Milagro tequila.  A featured speaker during the conference, here’s our in-depth discussion held at the bar of the lavish Westin Riverwalk Hotel.] La Anatomia del Mezcal In Dr. […]

A look into The Tequila Lover’s Guide to Mexico and Mezcal

Originally Posted on Tequila Aficionado March 2, 2001 A look into The Tequila Lover’s Guide to Mexico and Mezcal  By Alexander Pérez TequilaAficionado Magazine Editor A must-have addition for all tequila and mezcal aficionado libraries Click To Tweet After selling out of his first book by 8 thousand copies, Lance Cutler has indulged us again […]