Mestizo Mezcal–A Perfect Convergence of Cultures

 

Mestizo logo

 

When we first met Arturo Palencia, co-founder of the award winning Mestizo Mezcal, we were struck by his boyish charm and seemingly tender age.  We were surprised to discover that this thirty-something was no newcomer to the competitive and often brutal spirits industry.

In this clip, Arturo tells how he became involved with mezcal and the surprising birth of Mestizo.

 

What’s In A Name?

According to Wikipedia, the term mestizo refers to a person of combined heritage, usually European (Spanish) and indigenous peoples of the Americas.  The term was later used as a racial category during the Spanish Empire’s control of its colonies.

During that colonial period, mestizos became the dominant race in many Spanish speaking countries in Latin America, including Mexico.

Today, Hispanic or Latino is the more appropriate term, but for Arturo the meaning of mestizo for his mezcal is much more poetic and thoughtful.

 

 

Jessica Rosman (right), co-founder of Mestizo.

Jessica Rosman (right), co-founder of Mestizo.

A Formal Introduction

Arturo and co-founder, Jessica Rosman, spent countless hours journeying throughout the mezcal producing regions of Mexico in search of the perfect single village, settling on Santiago Matatlán, Oaxaca.

In this taped portion, Arturo introduces us to his 4th generation maestro mezcalero and his nearly 300 years of tradition.

With more brands popping up at an alarming rate in the current booming mezcal market, Arturo discusses Mestizo’s process in gauging its target audience that is looking for a more palatable mezcal.

Fat Ass donkey logoDoes This Donkey Make My Ass Look Fat?

 

As a college student in the mid-2000s, Arturo was actively involved in the initial launching of the infamous Fat Ass Tequila.

Produced as an old style tequila in a hand blown bottle, and marketed to the Spring Breakers that invade Cancún and Cabo San Lucas,  it became wildly popular with both connoisseurs and young people, winning numerous awards along the way.

Then, it virtually disappeared from store shelves.

Here, Arturo describes what it was like to be on the ground floor of this provocative brand.

 

Truly Handcrafted

Mestizo Mezcal añejoWords like artisanal or handcrafted are loosely bandied about in the spirits industry these days.  But, whether as a young college student helping friends launch their tequila brand, or today, plotting Mestizo’s success, Arturo Palencia’s focus hasn’t changed–

To bring to market a high quality spirit while preserving its tradition.  In Mestizo’s case, maintaining consistency and promoting sustainability also go hand-in-hand.

In this snippet, Arturo reveals how Mestizo does both by their unique barrel aging process.

 

 

One Thing…

Like the name illustrates, Mestizo Mezcal has centuries of pedigree, and from Arturo Palencia’s point of view, the future promises to hold true to its roots.

Dii’zh bèeyuu!

(cheers and good health in Zapotec)

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Sipping Off The Cuff: Senda Real Silver Tequila

Senda Real Silver Tequila

senda real, tequila, silver, blancoMike Morales and Alex Perez taste a discuss Senda Real Silver and explain why they have nominated it for the 2014 Brands of Promise Awards.

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Jessica’s Journey: The Epic Tequila Tour

Jessica’s Epic Tequila Tour: When you love what you do, you immerse yourself in the experience By Jessica Arent

BIENVENIDOS A GUADALAJARA, JALISCO, MEXICO!

GuadalajaraI am not going to lie, when your living is derived from that which you are passionate about in a culture you call home, it ceases to be a J.O.B and becomes altogether a joy and the adventure of a lifetime. Enter me, and my profession. As much as this writer would like to derive her income from exclusively writing, (isn’t that what all authors aspire to?), I am not on the Top Seller list, so I use my creativity and love of Tequila in other ways. I specialize in Marketing and Branding of Hispanic Products in the United States with an emphasis on Tequila. Of course, living and working in this world presents one with some unique and extraordinary life experiences.

Joining Tequila Aficionado

6_ta_logo_pinasA few months ago, M.A. “Mike” Morales and Lisa Pietsch invited me to join the team at Tequila Aficionado and write a travel based column for their exceptional publication. Initially, I was flattered. Then I was overwrought with anxiety, not knowing what to write about. Didn’t it have to relate to tequila? Shouldn’t it reflect Mexico? Does it have to be a lot of Tequila Talk? Oy Vey!!! What to write? The anxiety was killing me.  This went on for a few weeks, honestly. I had writer’s block.

Opportunity Knocked Rang

Then the phone rang. No, it wasn’t Lisa looking for a submission. No, it wasn’t Mike, prompting my creative ideas. It was a distributor friend and colleague out of Central Valley, California, asking if I would be interested in a new project and product emerging into the market in the near future. univisionWell of course I was! A girl has to eat, right? The long and the short, found me on a plane, headed to Guadalajara, Mexico, for my first time. Okay, I know what you are thinking. “How can you possibly market Hispanic Products and especially Tequila, without having been to Guadalajara, Mexico?!” My answer to this? I was paid in Tequila with my first position in Advertising at Univision Television in that same Central Valley Market my distributor friend called from. That IS little Guadalajara. I have been in and out of innumerable destinations in Mexico for business, and (don’t hate) I know what I am doing.  It isn’t my first “Charreada”!

Enter The Epic Tequila Tour

file0001348262335It’s an “Epic” (hold on to that adjective, you will want to remember it!) experience when your client invites you into their world to feel, touch and experience in every imaginable way, the product. Yes, you read that right. In the “Epic” (there is that word again!!) experience of the concept, development, relationships, price structure, placement, endorsements, and sponsorships, the entire image of a product right down to the ownership and infrastructure of the team, is the BRAND. And this project, was nothing short of “Epic”. The thing is, I am pretty discerning, very particular, and extremely picky about Tequila and branding, so it’s got to be extraordinary for this girl to really get in the game and take on the project. Turns out, this one is “Epic”.

Welcome to Jessica’s Journey

And so, instead of just telling you about it, I thought I would take you on my journey through this particular experience start to finish, through a series of articles, so that you too can feel, touch, smell, taste and experience what I did.  If you read this series and immerse yourselves as I did, I am confident by the time we get to the end of my decadent, inspiring, educational, enlightening Guadalajara experience you will have come to know everyone along the way as I did.  Those who made history in Tequila and created this amazingly beautiful Tequila world we live in. When we’re through, and it’s gotten Off the Cuff with Mike and Alex, and seen Lisa’s kitchen for a taste test or two, I might just tell you who and what to look for hitting the shelves and bars near you! Ready, Set……. BIENVENIDOS A UN “EPIC” TEQUILA EXPERIENCIA!

  Read the next installment of Jessica’s Journey next Monday!  

jessica arent, jessica's journey, mexico, tequila, tequila aficionadoAbout Jessica Arent

Jessica Arent has spent her career steeped in the Hispanic culture. Passionate about the Latin culture and experiencing roles that have taken her from television to digital marketing throughout the United States and Mexico, Jessica’s passion for Mexico runs in her blood. An accomplished writer, Mexico is where her heart lives and is the focus of her work and writing.  Specializing in marketing Hispanic based products and services, Jessica will tell you there are few people in the world or places she has traveled, from Asia to Europe and in between, who compare to the Mexican culture.  Building websites such as ALL ABOUT MEXICO and fostering the marketing endeavors of a number of tequila products, to name a few, Jessica sets out to inspire the world around her, one person, one relationship at a time, to know and understand the culture she calls home.  Jessica is a partner at Intermountain Media, LLC, the Communications and Media Director of Terra Energy Resources Corp, and shares other travel and tequila adventures on her blog, Jessica’s Mexico.

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Cranberry & Orange Diva Tequila Scones Recipe

Cranberry & Orange Diva Tequila Scones

I’ve found Diva Tequila to be particularly versatile in drinking, pairing, and cooking.  I’ve wanted to create a tequila scone recipe for some time now and am happy to announce that I’ve finally got a keeper!  These scones may be a little darker than yours might turn out as I use a 50/50 mix of white and whole wheat flour.  Happily, I discovered that the whole wheat didn’t bring this recipe down a bit!  The Diva Tequila scones were light, fluffy and delicious!

Give the recipe a try and see for yourself!

 

scones, diva tequila, cranberry, orange, recipeIngredients:

3 Cups Flour

2 Tbsp Baking Powder

1/2 tsp Salt

1 Cup Splenda

½ Cup Butter

2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil (we used Coconut)

1 Cup Craisins

¼ Cup Diva Tequila

1.5 Cups Milk (Half & Half or light cream for a really rich scone)

Zest of 1 Orange

1 Cup Flour for kneading

1 Beaten Egg to glaze

Soak Craisins in ¼ Cup Diva Tequila Overnight, mixing often to be sure they’re all covered.

 

To Prepare:

scones, diva tequila, cranberry, orange, recipeMix Flour, Baking Powder, Salt & Splenda thoroughly in a large mixing bowl.

Add Craisins and Orange Zest, then mix until all are covered with flour mixture.

Add Vegetable Oil and Milk.  Stir until mixed but don’t over mix.

Sprinkle countertop with flour and roll dough (it should be very sticky) onto the floured surface.

Fold over/knead for about a minute and pat down (no need to roll it) to about one ince of thickness.

Cut with a biscuit/cookie cutter and place on greased baking sheet.

Brush tops with egg wash before baking.

Bake at 400 for 25 Minutes

If you haven’t seen the Diva Margarita Cupcakes yet, check them out here! 

 

Tequila Aficionado Test Kitchen recipes are made with tequilas provided by the brand for review in Sipping Off The Cuff and/or use in the Tequila Aficionado Test Kitchen.  The cost of all other ingredients, presentation pieces, kitchen facilities, and utilities  are provided solely by Tequila Aficionado.  To have your tequila, mezcal or sotol brand or other products considered for use in the Tequila Aficionado Test Kitchen, email Lisa@TequilaAficionado.com.

diva tequila, del bravo, test kitchen, tequila aficionado, recipe, orange, cranberry tequila, scone


 

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Tequila Pairing Challenge with Tequila Don Fulano

…At The Patio in San Diego

By Ryan Kelley

 patioTequila pairing dinners are always an adventure. Like fine wine, tequila has a way of inspiring and challenging chefs to marry just the right food to match the myriad and often complex flavors inherent in well-made, artisanal tequila. So when my friend Tequilier Mario Marquez invited me to join him and renowned chef Andrew Spurgin to judge a tequila pairing competition between both locations of The Patio in San Diego, I was all in.don_fulano_bottles2

Chefs at each of the restaurant’s two locations were given the challenge to prepare a five-course dinner with the five different expressions of Don Fulano tequila.

Day 1: The Patio on Lamont

Day1_Restaurant

 

In a large yet cozy room at The Patio’s Pacific Beach location on Lamont Street, General Manager Chris Simmons welcomed tasters and the judging panel and then introduced Chef de Cuisine Andre Fuentes.

As the first course was delivered, Don Fulano Brand Ambassador Sergio Mendoza told guests about Don Fulano—distilled at La Tequileña in the Tequila valley in small batches from 100% estate-grown agave from the highlands of Jalisco.

Day1_Course1Most notable about Chef Fuentes’ menu was that it strayed from the typical Mexican flavors normally paired with tequila.

The first course was a fried green tomato with herb-whipped goat cheese, watermelon and cucumber salad and watercress paired with Don Fulano Suave. The fried green tomato had a tendency to overwhelm the delicate and complex flavors of a blanco, but the watermelon and cucumber brought out the herbal and earthier flavors.

 

Day1_Course2It was a solid start, but then the evening took an unexpected twist.

At most tequila pairing dinners, courses will be paired with a vertical flight of tequila. That is, the first course is paired with blanco, the second with reposado, third with añejo, etc. Instead, Chef Fuentes served his second course, a chilled honeydew soup with pistachio gremolata, snow crab and lemon vinaigrette with Don Fulano añejo, which is a floral yet sweet and intense tequila aged for three years in French oak.

Pairing the sweet soup brought out the sweetness of the añejo—fine for a dessert course but a little odd this early in the evening. Interestingly, when I went back to sipping the blanco with this course, I found it to be a much better marriage.

Day1_Course3The highlight of the evening was the third course: fried soft shell crab cooked to perfection with a grilled corn puree, smoked pork belly and cantaloupe relish paired with Don Fulano resposado.

The hearty dish stood up to the well-balanced reposado, which offers a fruity, delicately herbal flavor up front and ends with richer flavors of caramel and maple. The freshness and fruitiness of the relish and corn puree brought out the sweet agave and herbal flavors, while the heartier fried crab opened the palate to the richness from the barrel.

Day1_Course4This was a true winner, and was the highest-scored plate by all three judges.

The fourth course, agave-glazed smoked duck breast paired with Don Fulano 5-year Imperial was unfortunately overpowered by the complex flavors of the extra añejo, but the evening ended on a high note with a watermelon-basil sorbet that brought out the fresh flavor of the sweet, intense Don Fulano Fuerte, a 100-proof blanco.

 

Day 2: The Patio on Goldfinch

Day2_Course1The second evening featured Executive Chef John Medall’s five course menu at The Patio on Goldfinch in the Mission Hills area of San Diego. Medall’s menu offered more traditional Mexican flavors, but was still creative and full of unexpected accents.

The first surprise came with the first course, a simple yet elegant watermelon and jicama salad dressed with agave honey, cilantro, cotija and pine nuts. Fellow judge, Chef Andrew Spurgin, hit it right on the mark when he described the dish as “honest.”

The fresh, flavorful salad complimented notes of grapefruit in the blanco and opened up the herbal aspect of the tequila without an overpowering sweetness.

Day2_Course2This was the first highlight of the evening. It even gave me chills!

The second course, a cantaloupe and mango gazpacho, was tasty but its richness and sweetness overpowered Don Fulano reposado.

The second highlight of the evening, and my favorite dish and pairing across both nights was tequila-braised pork carnitas wrapped in a house made tortilla and topped with salsa verde, served with Mexican rice and spicy pinto beans and paired with Don Fulano añejo.

Day2_Course3It was a robust dish worthy of the bold flavors in the añejo. The flavors of the dish heightened the agave-heavy entry of the añejo and accentuated the wonderful wood notes in the tequila’s finish.

Also notable was that the dish showcased Medall’s philosophy of using even “unusable portions” of his ingredients: watermelon rind leftover from the first course was smashed into the tortilla dough to give it a beautiful color and a mild, sweet flavor that added to the complexity of the dish and tequila pairing.

Day2_Course4The third course proved hard to follow, and the fourth course, a Puerto Nuevo-style lobster, came out a bit overcooked—likely due to difficulty choreographing and timing such an ambitious plate for so many guests. It’s pairing with Don Fulano Imperial was rather “ho-hum,” but I found that pairing the Imperial with the course’s side of roasted corn was a surprisingly good marriage of food and tequila, and this helped salvage the course and bump up the score a bit.

The pairing challenge came to a close with a tasty melon granita made from watermelon, cantaloupe and casaba complemented by the 100-proof aromatic and intense Don Fulano Fuerte. It was a solid way to end the night and the 2-day challenge.

And The Winner Is…

When the scores were tallied, the judging panel selected Chef Medall’s menu from The Patio on Goldfinch as the winner.

***

montalvo

 

The Patio on Goldfinch plans to hold another five-course tequila pairing dinner on Tuesday, August 26, 2014 at 5:30p.m. with Tequila Montalvo. For reservations and details, click here or contact the restaurant, located on 4020 Goldfinch St, San Diego, CA 92103, at (619) 501-5090.

 

Day1_GroupShot

Writer Ryan Kelley and friends enjoying all five of Don Fulano Tequila’s offerings.


 

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