This is the hand of Sandra Ortiz Brena. Sandra was the first person to introduce us to the complex world of agave distillates. She along with her business partner Ulises Torrentera own In Situ Mezcaleria @insitumezcaleria in Oaxaca City, which has become a place of pilgrimage for those of us who are passionate about mezcal. She is a lovely soul and a portal to discovering agave culture in Mexico.
This is the hand of Guillaume Guevara @guillaumeguevara. G, as his friends call him, is a man of many passions and talents. He is the owner of Miscelanea, an awesome store offering authentic Mexican food, as well as specialty and hard to find products here, in NYC. He is a mentor of ours and has been a huge help and inspiration to us in our fledgling attempts to make our dream a reality.
This is the hand of Tess Rose Lampert @tessrose211. Tess is simply amazing. She is an educator specializing in the culture of beverages and food. She is a researcher and an advocate for the responsible cultivation, promotion, and preservation of agave distillates. Through her passion and knowledge, she inspires us to keep asking questions because there is always so much more to learn. In addition to her work in the wine and spirits industry, Tess practices sound healing using quartz crystal bowls and other sound tools to create deeply relaxing vibrations and meditative states where the mind and body are free to express their innate self-healing abilities. @thirdeyetones
This is the hand of Diego Mejia @gnome_sound_vibration. Diego was one of the first people we met when we were exploring the mezcal scene in NYC. He is a conduit for connecting people and a generous, kind soul. A brand ambassador for Espiritu Lauro Mezcal, he has introduced many people to the world of agave distillates. Diego is an artist as well as a Himalayan bowl player, practicing the healing art of Sound Meditation.
This is the hand of Jesus Zapata @jesuszhnyc. Jesus is an electric personality. He can be found serving, mixing, sometimes singing, and mostly laughing at Mesa Azteca @mesaaztecanyc. Jesus is one of those people who spreads joy effortlessly and is able to encourage celebration wherever he goes. If you have the great luck of meeting him, your day will become infinitely better.
This is the hand of Patrick Dacy. Patrick is the founder of @dukesliquorbox, which is a mecca for fans of agave distillates, Mexican wine, and rum among countless other national and international spirit offerings. His deep knowledge and passion for agave beverages combined with his easy-going vibe, make any conversation with him an absolute joy. Patrick has been a motivating force for us, he is always game for participating in our projects, and an important consultant on all things agave.\
This is the hand of Sheily Pepper @sheilypepper - Sheily is a radiant, intuitive vibe architect. One part of the duo Jungle Pepper, find her in Tulum spinning soundscapes that will intoxicate you with or without the booze. Check out her playlists on Spotify. She will make your heart move.
These are the hands of Dave Lather @realdavelather and Enjie Romero-Garcia @3nji3. Dave and Enjie are two remarkable human beings. Enjie is an agave distillate lover and advocate. Since her first trip to Oaxaca in 2015, mezcal has guided her on a powerful and emotional journey into prehispanic culture, her Mexican identity. She is responsible for introducing Dave to mezcal and countless other friends. Dave is the brand ambassador for @bozalmezcal, an educator and a historian. They travel to Oaxaca regularly, exploring archaeological sites, cultural events, and of course palenques. Both are incredible resources of information and happy to share their knowledge with anyone intrigued by mezcal. If you have the chance to meet them, please ask them all your questions!
Enjie’s passion for mezcal began with her first sip almost 7 years ago. It wasn’t until 3 years after that that she was able to/decided she was going to dive deeper into learning what made mezcal so special and traveled to Oaxaca for the sole purpose of learning from Mescaleros. Since her first trip to Oaxaca in 2015, mezcal has been a powerful and emotional journey into prehispanic culture, her Mexican identity. Enjie follows her passion for mezcal, is always curious to learn more, and happy to teach the little bit she knows to those that are new and intrigued by mezcal.
This is the hand of Chef Scott Hawley. Scott along with his partner Michelle Lobo-Hawley, are the owners of Otis @otisbk, a neighborhood treasure located in Bushwick. Scott and his lovely, talented staff, have made Otis a welcoming warm hug of a restaurant. Together the team serves up delicious approachable fare, creative cocktails, and enriching conversation. Otis has a cosmic magnetism for attracting truly genuine, kind, and interesting people. This is in large part because of a Scott, who is the heartbeat of this place. We have been blessed with their friendship, encouragement, and generosity. Also, they make the best bread in town (the secret is out)!
This is the hand of Jose Maria Donde @mistersuave. Chema, as he known, is the founder of @panoramamezcal. He tends bar at Cosme and is the brand ambassador for @mezcalmeteoro and @mezcalmarcanegra. He is an educator and advocate for all things agave, sharing the story of mezcal with his audience. His events, whether the notorious Bartender Legion or Mezcal Night, are largely known to be the best in the city. He has the eye of an artist and a heart of gold. This gentleman is prolific with his broad reach and inclusive attitude.
This is the hand of Susan Coss. Susan is the co-founder along with her partner Max Garrone of Mezcalistas, an online publication committed to telling the story of mezcal within the context of its history and cultural connection. If you are in any way curious about the current issues in the world of agave distillates, Mezcalistas is your absolute best resource. Susan and Max write thoughtful, thorough and insightful articles, that explain complicated issues with contextually rich backstories. Susan’s intuitive sensibility and utterly kind persona make her a magnet for attracting the best this community has to offer, by way of people and spirits! Susan and Max also organize Mexico in a Bottle, the largest Mezcal tasting event in the States, which brings together small and large producers alike. It is truly a magical experience. If you have the opportunity to go you will be blessed with beautiful distillates and people all around.
This is the hand of Michiko Shimada @michiko_shimada. Michiko is an artist whose craft is an integral part of TUYO. Michiko is a talented, creative soul and a mentor to young aspiring artists. In addition to producing exquisitely crafted ceramics, she also teaches in the Ceramic’s department at Parsons. Stepping into her studio is like discovering a forbidden realm of secrets. Everywhere you look there are little experiments, lots of plants and a bit of magic.
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Recently, I had the great privilege of interviewing Patrick Dacy, founder and owner of Duke’s Liquor Box in Greenpoint Brooklyn. This article is a synthesis of our conversation which I tried to keep as close to the actual audio as possible.
We touched on several topics surrounding the production and exportation of agave spirits from Mexico. This first conversation will provide a clear and informed understanding of how agave distillates are made including what information to look for on a bottle’s label.