Ed Draves Samples… Wahaka Joven Espadin


Category… Joven Espadin

OriginSan Dionesio Ocotepec, Oaxaca

Tasting Notes… Sweet nose with very little heat, signature mineral character joined by pleasant citrusy notes with a touch of smoke on the aftertaste that went on for several minutes.  The taste was pleasant and full, mostly concentrated in the front of the tongue.

Maguey Rating… 4 magueys

Availability… US and Mexico

Cost… $35.00 – $45.00

Reviewed by Ed Draves, the Buffalo Mezcalero

Want a great recipe to celebrate National Margarita Day? Try Rick Bayless’ Oaxacan Gold Margarita with Wahaka Mezcal.

I’ve made this recipe many times… it’s incredibly easy and the results are fantastic. And trust me, the vanilla, balanced against a spicy chile salted (equal parts salt and hot powdered chile, preferably chipotle) glass rim make the drink.


For 1 cocktail:

2 tablespoons Wahaka Joven Espadin mezcal
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
5 tablespoons Grilled Pineapple-Vanilla Puree (see recipe below)
6 to 10 small ice cubes (about ¾ cup

For a pitcher (16 cocktails):

2 cups Wahaka Joven Espadin mezcal
1 cup fresh lime juice
5 cups Pineapple-Vanilla Puree (see recipe below)
10 cups ice


For one cocktail:
In a cocktail shaker, combine the mezcal, lime juice, Grilled Pineapple-Vanilla Puree and ice. Cover and shake vigorously until frothy and cold; tiny ice crystals will appear in the drink after about 15 seconds of shaking. Strain into a 6-ounce martini glass and serve immediately.

For a pitcher:
In a pitcher, combine the mezcal, lime juice, and Grilled Pineapple-Vanilla Puree. Stir well to combine, then cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.

Fill a cocktail shaker ¾ full with ice, and pour in 1 ½ cups of the margarita mixture. Shake, strain into 3 6-ounce martini glasses, and repeat for the remaining margaritas.

Roasted Pineapple-Vanilla Puree
Makes 5 cups

1 very large ripe pineapple (a generous 2 pounds), peeled and cut crosswise into 1-inch-thick pieces (no need to core)
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract, preferably Mexican

Adjust the oven rack to the highest level and preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, lay the pineapple slices in a single layer and roast under the hot broiler until the pineapple is softened and dark brown in places—about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool slightly.

In a blender, combine the still-hot grilled pineapple with the sugar, vanilla extract, and enough water to bring the quantity of the total puree to 5 cups (you will need a generous 2 cups water).  Cover and pulse until the pineapple is roughly chopped, then blend on high until smooth and foamy, usually a full minute.  Strain into a storage container, cool, cover and refrigerate until you are ready to use, up to 3 days.

Explaining our ratings…

Here’s where we start.  We love mezcal, but more importantly, we love artisanal mezcal.  The type that is hand made, following the centuries old traditions handed from one generation to the next.

We only review small batch mezcal so if you are expecting to read about mezcals that come from some 10,000 liter vat, you won’t find them here.  We don’t believe that they truly represent the heart and soul of the truly magical mezcals that are produced in Oaxaca and other places around the great country of Mexico.

We rate everything on a scale of 1 to 5 magueys.

If we write it up, it’s good and will be guaranteed at least 1 maguey.  3 magueys is top notch and the cherished 5 maguey rating is reserved for the really special stuff.  If you are fortunate to have a mezcal that gets 5 magueys, consider yourself fortunate, because it is a top of the mountain spirit, in the same class as a fine French wine or a treasured single malt Scotch.

Finally, not all of the mezcals we review are available in the US.  This reflects the view of Ulises Torrentera of In Situ Mezcaleria, and many mezcaleros, that to truly appreciate mezcal, sooner or later you need to visit us in Oaxaca.


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