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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat tomcat's Avatar
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    Cinco de Mayo beverages

    A brief update to one's holiday drinking file:

    Seven Tequilas and Mezcals You Have to Try
    Experts name their favorite brands and bottles for Cinco de Mayo.
    by Deena Shanker (Bloomberg)

    By now you know that Cinco de Mayo isn't Mexican Independence Day, that not all tequila is created equal, and that sipping it—or a smoky mezcal—is a much better way to celebrate Mexican heritage than throwing back shots with salt and lime.

    But with about 1,700 tequila brands to choose from, and a much smaller but growing number in the mezcal category, how to find the right ones?

    Tequila is a type of mezcal made from the blue agave plant and primarily made in the western state of Jalisco. Mezcal, which can be made from any agave, mostly comes from further south, in Oaxaca. The best tequilas and mezcals are still made sustainably and by hand, from harvest through bottling.

    We asked experts for their favorite brands and bottles. Here are their picks, priced from around $50 to $200 per 750-milliliter bottle and widely available in the U.S., unless otherwise noted.

    Mezcal

    Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal

    Ron Cooper is often credited as the guy who brought mezcal to the U.S. and helped make it popular. His brand boasts a collection of mezcals, each derived from a single village in Oaxaca, highlighting the spirits' terroir. At Mayahuel in New York, staffers praise the brand's community-oriented approach and its help in getting their agave-focused cocktail bar off the ground. There, the menu currently lists more than a dozen kinds of Del Maguey mezcals, including the very smoky Chichicapa and the sweeter Ibérico, which is distilled with Ibérico ham, a play on the traditional Pechuga mezcal that uses chicken breast. San Francisco Chef Traci Des Jardins recommends the 100 percent Tobala, made from wild agaves that take 20 to 30 years to grow—even longer than the storied blue agaves, for tequila, which take an average of seven years to mature.

    Ilegal Mezcal

    Anyone looking for some #resistance with their drink will want to reach for a bottle of Ilegal. The brand, which came out of a bar in Antigua, Guatemala, now works with three distilleries in Oaxaca, two owned by former undocumented immigrants who worked as barbacks in California. When Donald Trump, in announcing his presidential candidacy, called Mexicans who illegally cross the U.S. border rapists, the brand plastered New York, Miami, and Los Angeles with posters declaring him, very loosely translated, a jackass. Susan Coss, founder of Mezcalistas, says she appreciates the brand's commitment to sustainability and its support of its mezcaleros.

    Mezcal Real Minero

    This fourth-generation distillery in Oaxaca uses mostly wild agaves, making each bottling especially distinctive. "I open one of these only on special occasions," said Bricia Lopez, a Los Angeles-based mezcal enthusiast from Oaxaca, a tireless ambassador for the spirit, and a founding member of the Taste of Mexico Association. She calls every bottle "pure perfection" but says the Barril, noted for its earthy, herbaceous flavor, is her first among equals.

    Mezcalosfera

    Because these bottles are produced only in micro-batches, each is unique and has the label to prove it. It lists the maestro mezcalero who made it, the kinds of agave used and their proportions, the date it was distilled, the number of liters, how many days it fermented ... you get the point. Those just getting to know mezcal or not into that level of detail, don't worry. "Literally, everything they put out is gold," said Christi Preddy of Gallo Pelón Mezcaleria in Raleigh, North Carolina. (These mezcal people aren't stingy with praise.) She says her bottle of the Tobala, Verde, Madrecuixe, Cuixe, Espadin blend is "like nothing [she's] ever tasted." If you're willing to spend the $160 the 750 ml bottle costs, get in line.

    Mezcal Tosba

    These agaves are grown in the tropics alongside coffee, mango, and sugar cane, in the Cajonos-Villa Alta region of Oaxaca in the Sierra Juarez mountains, giving the spirit its fruity notes. The company was formed by two cousins who hoped it would save their village. Gilbert Marquez, brand ambassador for Ilegal, and Lopez are fans. "Very light and easy to drink," Lopez said. If you can find it.

    Tequila

    Tequila Ocho

    Like many mezcals, Carlos Camarena's brand is driven by terroir—tequila, like wine, should taste of the place it's from. Even though all tequila is made from blue agave, Camarena uses agave grown on different estates in Jalisco, with each bottling reflecting that estate's particular climate and altitude. Chantal Martineau, author of How the Gringos Stole Tequila, lists the brand as a favorite. The company just released its 2016 vintage from the Puerta del Aire estate, its first from a bat-friendly pilot it's participating in with two other distillers; bats are natural pollinators for agaves. The large-scale operations use assexual reproduction, while the bat-friendly operations seek to rebuild the animal's habitats.

    Siembra Valles

    This brand also stresses the importance of terroir, making tequila the old-fashioned way, without machines, and it is now bat-friendly as well. Mandi Nelson, beverage director of the restaurant group New Waterloo (which includes Austin's La Condesa), recommends the Ancestral Blanca tequila, while Des Jardins goes for the Reposado.

    bottle pics here: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...as-and-mezcals
    Majestically enthroned amid the vulgar herd

  2. #2
    Guest Member S Landreth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomcat View Post
    Seven Tequilas and Mezcals You Have to Try
    Well if you’re going to drink, might as well wash down something good. Part of our meal yesterday,....


    Mexican owned restaurant, wonderful Mexican waitress, Mexican cook

    Whatshername had told me a year ago this place had the best salsa she had ever tasted (I’m thinkin’,……Even better than mine?) so she took me there to try it. It was pretty good.
    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

  3. #3
    Thailand Expat tomcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by S Landreth
    if you’re going to drink, might as well wash down something good
    agree: is this place in the swamp?

  4. #4
    Guest Member S Landreth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomcat View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by S Landreth
    if you’re going to drink, might as well wash down something good
    agree: is this place in the swamp?
    Florida Keys

  5. #5
    Thailand Expat tomcat's Avatar
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    *sigh*...

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