5 + José María Dondé Rangel
/ There is always a mezcal for everybody
José María or Chema as he is known came by to share his particular perspective working within the mezcal and agave spirits industry. Until recently, Chema had been behind the bar at Cosme (the Mexican fine dining restaurant created by chef’s Enrique Olvera and Daniela Soto-Innes) educating and converting his guests into mezcal enthusiasts. This conversation will be of particular interest to those of you working behind the bar because Chema explains how he introduces mezcal to his guests. He stresses the responsibility of the bartender to help to educate their guests and gives some great advice on how not to overwhelm them and instead entice them to want to learn more. We discuss what it means to farm semi-cultivated agave and he stresses the cultural aspect of celebration and agave distillates.
Chema is also the force behind Panorama Mezcal. A project he created 5 years ago to promote Mexican culture and spirits. Panorama produces events that focus on Agave distillates, some are parties like Bartender Legion which highlights selected bartenders showing off their skills while dancing the night away. Mezcal Night is an evening where 30+ brands come together under one roof for an amazing tasting extravaganza and specialized educational seminars.
José María Dondé Rangel was born and raised in Mexico City. He recently relocated to Miami after living in NYC for over a decade. He has worked in the industry for 12 years starting as a busboy and moving up the ladder to bartender, bar consultant and Mexican Spirits Curator specializing in all things mezcal. He is the founder of Panorama Mezcal and an agave advocate.
1. Basilio Pacheco in his Palenque
2. Harvesting wild and semi-cultivated agaves in Ejutla
3. Planting semi-cultivated agaves in Ejutla on Basilio Pacheco's palenque.
4. Agave hijuelos
5. A flowering quiote
6. Agave Mexicano with bulbils (genetic copies of the mother plant) that shoot out of the quiote, similar to hijuelos that shoot out from the base of the mother plant.
7. A nursery at Basilio Pacheco's palenque
8. Rows of cultivated agaves
Mezcal Night produced by Panorama Mezcal
Bartender Legion produced by Panorama Mezcal
Parker, Jorsand, and Chema behind the bar at Cosme
+ All images courtesy of Chema
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Dalton Kreiss & Hanna Woodside of Maguey Melate share their story. We talk about their agave spirits subscription club and why highlighting the producer is as important as the spirit.