At BarLifeUK HQ, we are reasonably certain that every time someone says no to a copita of mezcal, a chihuahua puppy dies. And that makes us sad.
We had no choice, then, but to accept an invitation to the Del Maguey mezcal tasting at Amathus HQ last Wednesday. With guests from the Mexican Embassy, a table laden with Oaxacan snacks, and our gracious host Eduardo leading us through the history and production of mezcal, the tasting felt more like a relaxed gathering of friends, fueled by agave goodness.
Established in 1995, Del Maguey has played a vital role in bringing mezcal to mainstream US and European marketplaces. A sustainably produced and organic product, it is also entirely in line with the drinking habits of bartenders and WholeFoods-shopping hipsters.
Vida, Del Maguey’s unaged white mezcal, is smooth, flavourful and plays nicely in cocktails. The rest of the range showcases the unique characteristics of each village and style. Small differences in production can have measurable impacts on flavour, and these variations are a source of pride for local producers.
The tasting also featured a couple of uniquely british-mexican products. Fear not – we are not about to endorse marmite molé sauce (shudder).
Mexican style cheeses, produced using traditional methods by the rather sweetly named Gringa Dairy right here in London, were perfect accompaniments to the smoky mezcals (and kept us from getting too merry on a school night).
We were also treated to Gran Luchito chili paste, made with Oaxacan chilies. This may be my new favourite condiment. I reckon it would also make an excellent cocktail ingredient.