“Do you guys have any mezcals?” seemed to be a pretty normal question when we opened. With a wall full of tequila, a handful of whiskey, gin, and vodka, and a great tap and bottle list, I couldn’t see why anyone would ask for mezcal. The extent of our collection was Scorpion Mezcal, a gimmicky mezcal with an actual scorpion at the bottom of each bottle but a tasty alternative no doubt, mostly used to tell people: “Yes, we do have mezcal.”
That would suffice, I told myself. But it wouldn’t leave me alone. Distributors approached me, long-time customers shared their experience with the spirit, and finally I was convinced, rather hooked: Mezcal is damn good.
That’s when I first tried Sombra joven mezcal. It blew me away with its complexity; it was a vastly different experience than tequila. There was that underlying agave quality, which I had anticipated, but I was so taken by the smokiness, tobacco, and peat-like qualities — qualities found in tequila but not as forward as this. Which brings me to Del Maguey, a truly remarkable family of mezcals, each named after the small village it is crafted in.
Santo Domingo Albarradas is a tiny village of roughly 300 people, about an hour due east of the heart of Oaxaca in southern Mexico. On the nose, Albarradas is a mix of agave, smoke, tobacco, apparent citrus, herbal notes, and pepper. A sip brings out the medicinal, peat-like qualities with the agave taking the back seat. Warming tobacco finishes and subtle sweetness and oak lingers for awhile, making for a super smooth experience.
This is a fine specimen, a truly unique experience tequila cannot nor does not pretend to offer. Currently, Del Maguey offers close to 10 distinct mezcals, each offering its own interpretation of the agave-based spirit.
I’m proud to say I have more that Scorpion mezcal now. I’m hooked. And I won’t let up until I’ve tried all the mezcal there is to offer. Which, if you frequent La Margarita, is good news, as we’ll continue to add new stuff as often as possible. So stay tuned!