Food & Drink

6 Unique Agave Spirits You Should Know

Mezcals and Tequilas to Put Some Life In Your Day of the Dead

By Hadley Tomicki ·
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Mezcal.

Tequila.

The nectars that sustain these, our very lives.

And seeing as today is the start of Dia de los Muertos, we thought we’d share a few tequilas and mezcals that have been on our mind of late. Either due to their newness or the sheer integrity of their characters. Come along. We’ll have fun.

Siempre Tequila Plata: A recently introduced distillation of both Highland and Lowland Blue Weber agaves, Siempre has been racking up awards amid great public demand. Slow-cooked in stone ovens, double-distilled and blended with volcanic water, the spirit is overseen by an ex-Patron Master Tequilero, revealing restrained sweetness with forward flavors of agave and white pepper. $50

Gem & Bolt: Here you have a mezcal distilled with damiana, an herb we would sometimes smoke as kids when we couldn’t find weed to various and mostly dissatisfying effects. Made using traditional techniques in Oaxaca, the damiana is said to have been legendary among Aztec and Maya for “mood-elevating properties” and “mythic powers in the bedroom.” So, please, drink a lot of it and report back. Or don’t. $50for up to 3 long weeks.

Santo Mezquila: This is what’s being called a “Mezquila,” a blend of Blue Weber agave (the variety required to make tequila) with espadin agave (one of the many, and perhaps most commercially visible, varieties of agave found among mezcal). The product has a beautiful black bottle, a website with women in orgasmic bliss and celebrity partners Sammy “Cabo Wabo” Hagar and Adam Levine. In our own tasting alongside some spicy cemitas, we found the product running a little hot, with strong alcohol vapors and a burn on the tongue, despite its standard 40% ABV. A later tasting without the food found a more nuanced nose with tones of leather followed by pronounced vegetal earthiness on the palate and a sweet finish. The jury is still out on the mysterious flavor, so we plan to revisit this one. $50

Patron en Lalique: Serie 2: Aged in a combination of American oak, French oak and sherry barrels for up to 8 years, only 299 units are available, presented in an Art Deco style crystal decanter from Lalique and purported to be packed with complex notes of vanilla, caramel and spiced fruits, among others. It will cost you $7,500 to verify.

Piedre Almas + 9 Botanicals: You want mezcal, but you also want gin. You want Piedre Almas, which starts with pit-roasted espadin that gets distilled with nine botanicals like juniper, fennel and coriander instead of local fruits. A layered symphony of smoke, herbs and citrus that works well sipped neatly or mixed into drinks, it bridges both spirits in one truly unique taste. $100

Mezcal Los Javis: This is not a new espadin mezcal. But it’s a good espadin mezcal, made by multigenerational mezcaleros in Oaxaca taking a stand for traditional production methods amid mezcal's rising popularity and profiteering. And the important part of this particular story is that you can find it at Trader Joe’s in California for under $30. We’ll let you go now. 

Readers who would like to make a donation to help provide provisional housing to indigenous communities affected by September's earthquake in Oaxaca can donate at Por Oaxaca.

Hadley Tomicki lives in Los Angeles. He is probably going nowhere on the 10 Freeway this very second.

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