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The “new” trendy alcohol that’s not new at all!
Do you have that one friend who hasn’t stopped going on about mezcal lately?
If you’re reading this post it might be because, like me a few days ago, you don’t really have a finger on what mezcal even IS.
Well, a fun start-up from right here in La Paz has an easy fix to this uneasy feeling of being outside of the know: A Mexican spirits tasting and food pairing!
You’ve done it with whiskey. You’ve definitely done it with wine. Now, reserve a mezcal and tequila tasting experience in La Paz with Mexican Spirits Club®️, and sip your way through controlled origin ancestral distillates as unique as each Mexican state they come from!
Unique Mexican Spirits Tasting and Pairing Experience in La Paz
On a colourful and airy rooftop terrace only one block off of La Paz’s famous waterfront, Lalo and Jonny, the co-founders and hosts of the Mexican Spirits Club, invite you to their table.
Set up for food and drink, you are welcomed with their signature mezcal cocktail, brightened by flavours of basil and cucumber. Soothing music floats through the air around you while leaving space for easy conversation and a few laughs, as everybody gets settled in and acquainted.
Pro tip: If you’re visiting La Paz in the winter (December-February) remember to bring a sweater or light jacket with you to your tasting experience, as it can get windy and a bit chilly, especially if you’re super savvy and have booked a sunset tasting 😉
Over 90 minutes that just flew by, Lalo not only taught us the difference between mezcal and tequila – tequila is actually a type of mezcal because the word “mezcal” literally means “cooked agave” – but also spoke passionately about how the style within each spirit can differ so greatly because each individual production is inextricably connected to the land, the cooking process, people’s traditions, colonial history, and even legislation.
Pro tip: As the tasting unfolds, the cocktail pitcher is right there on the family-style table for refills, so don’t be too polite and do help yourself! This “tip” should be obvious, but just in case 😉
Personally, I just found it so interesting to look at Mexican spirits through a perspective more often taken towards wine grapes! In just the same way that a California chardonnay is not the same as a Burgundy, a single agave plant species can produce such different results depending on where it is farmed. Mind. Blown
To highlight these variations de terroir, Lalo makes sure that of the 4 tequilas, 3 mezcals, the baconora (ancestral alcohol only made in Sonora), and the infusions, there are some bottles from the same type of agave plant (yet that taste completely different!) and others from less common species that grow only in particular regions. Mexico has 159 different species of agave from which about 39 are used in making spirits!
Wondering if you taste tequila the same way you taste wine? Sip, swirl and spit?
Nope! You will learn how to first experience each spirit by the nose (or nostril, to be more exact. One at a time!…did you know each of your nostrils, connected to different sides of your brain, will give you a different perception of scent? Me neither!), then sip it on its own, and finally, for that Ratatouille-like explosion of flavours in your mouth, combine the spirit with the right type of food.
Lest we forget that this is a pairing event, Jonny arrives from the kitchen with a delicately presented food sample for each of the spirits you’ll be testing. Some are sweet and savoury combinations, such as guava and local cheese, and some are just straight sexy, like the slice of perfectly medium rib-eye steak.
And my favourite?
The “common” agave espadin mezcal, but pechuga style, paired with a roasted mushroom in mole sauce. *drool* The dessert-style infusions come a close second, as it was nothing like anything I would have ever expected!
Pro tip: If you’re a vegan, watch out for any Mexican spirit labelled “pechuga”; the finished mezcal or tequila has been redistilled with a hanging cut of meat cooking in the vapours, as well as various spices and fresh ingredients, giving it a fuller, richer, and very unique flavour.
So, if you haven’t found your favourite Mexican spirit yet or think you just don’t like the stuff, don’t be a quitter! The team at Mexican Spirits Club have both the passion and the lovingly curated stock to find you your perfect match. Give Lalo and Jonny a call, today!
By: Terri Lynn Manna, January 26, 2022.