I’ve known Chef Pilar Cabrera for a few years now and consider her a real friend. Since I first joined her and a group of about 10 others in a cooking class in Oaxaca, we’ve kept in touch. Whenever I am in town, I can frequently be found writing, upstairs in her restaurant, La Olla.
A few weeks back Chef Pilar and I got together to finalize the details of her helping my foundation teach culinary arts to students in Oaxaca. As we finished up, I asked her to be part of our 5 Mezcals Everyone Needs to Experience series.
Here are her recommendations, in no particular order…
Alipus… Get the one from San Juan del Rio. This mezcal is a nice simple mezcal, a great place to start your journey, and on many mezcal lovers lists.
Mezcal Koch… From San Baltazar Guelavila, Pilar says look for their ensemble, a mixture of 4 magueys, tobalá, tobasiche, cirial y maguey de lumbre
Real Minero… From Santa Catarina Minas, Pilar recommends their arroqueno, distilled in clay and not something you’re gonna run into everyday in the states.
Nuestra Soledad… From the Ejutla region of Oaxaca and Los Bigatones, this is one of the few mezcals from that area. It’s part of the Cortez family of mezcals, makers of Jolgorio.
Mezcal Vago… From Maestro Mezcalero Aquilino Garcia Lopez comes a mezcal infused with a hint of elote, or maize. The result is a wonderful balance of two of the most Mexican of flavors.
Chef Pilar and I sampled a few of these together, and I can’t disagree with any mezcal on her list. If you are in Oaxaca, she stocks them all at her restaurant, La Olla. And you can bet if you join her Casa de los Sabores cooking classes, you’ll get a good sampling tambien.
But, if you’re in the states, happy hunting, because some of these are not available to you, or will come with a top level price tag.