5 Mezcals Everyone Needs to Experience… with Erick “Almamezcalera” Rodriquez

I first met the award winning Erick [Almamezcalera] Rodriguez out at one of the many mezcal palenques in Oaxaca.  For the uninitiated, that’s a place where mezcal is made and bottled.  Think of it as a distillery.

I was taking a tour and Erick was there to share his ability to rock your world with mezcal.  A mixologist by trade, on that day, he served up a wonderful cocktail called a Verde Calavera, or in English, a Green Skull.Unfortunately, labeling Erick as simply a mixologist does not do him justice.  If you travel in Mexico and ask around about who knows mezcal, Erick’s name frequently comes up.  Simply put, the man is respected for his love and work with mezcal and if you are serious about getting to know more about this fabulous spirit, you need to look him up and spend some time with him.

I reached out to Erick recently to ask for his opinion.  Like I did recently with Cecilia Rios, La Niña del Mezcal, I wanted Erick to give me, and you, a few mezcals you must experience.

Here they are, in no particular order.

Mezcal Diestro y Siniestro… bottled from a variety of wild magueys, you can get the Diestro under 50% alcohol and the Siniestro above that mark.  The Siniestro, struck Erick with its fine balance, herbal notes and a touch of something he’d never tried in any mezcal.

Rey Campero… when you think of mezcal, usually your mind heads to Oaxaca, and rightfully so. Rey Campero is from Candelaria Yergole in Oaxaca, but Erick found this mezcal in a mezcaleria in Puebla.  Looking for something different, this may be the brand for you.  Erick says try the Jabalí!

El Chaneque…  a newcomer to the market, this is the result of a lawyer who decided to invest his life savings and learn about mezcal.  Try his Madrecuixe.  It starts strong, but has a transforming sweet and herbal finish.

Wahaka Mezcal…  made by fifth generation Master Mezcalero Alberto Morales of San Dionesio Ocotepec in Oaxaca, this artisanal and organic mezcal really shows off the agaves.  Additionally, Wahaka does great work in the community and has established a foundation to address the reforestation of the wild agaves.

Mezcales Almamezcalera… this is Erick’s baby.  Offering varieties from the other Mezcal regions around the country, Erick wants you to try some of the incredible offerings that some of the best mezcaleros in the states of Durango, Puebla, Sonora and Michoacan are making.  Branching out from the traditional mezcal made from the maguey Espadin, these mezcals offer up an experience different from any other you’ll find in the country.

So there you have it… five mezcals that are sure to rock your palette.  But if you want to try them all, there’s only one place you can do that and it’s south of the border in My Mexico!

After the jump, get Erick’s recipe for the Verde Calavera…

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 oz. Wahaka Mezcal Joven Espadin
  • 6 oz. Pineapple Nectar
  • 10 Basil Leaves
  • 1/2 oz. Agave Nectar
  • 1/2 oz. lime

Instructions

  • Add pineapple nectar, basil leaves, and lime to blender, blend until it foams.
  • Combine mix in a shaker with the agave nectar and mezcal, shake and serve.
  • Garnish with basil leaves.
  • Optional: Make adornments using a dropper full of beet infusion.

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