I sent a note to Bricia Lopez of Guelaguetza Restaurant in Los Angeles a few years back asking if she could connect me to a guy making mezcal in San Dionesio Ocotepec who I had heard about.
I was doing some writing for the Multi Cultural Cooking Network and wanted to put together a piece about mezcal. Bricia was incredibly gracious and connected me with Alberto Morales of Wahaka Mezcal. And in full disclosure, we’ve been friends ever since.
I’ve asked him many times for his Top 5 Mezcals and he has always avoided the answer. I’ve always felt his voice would be a great addition to our ongoing series. However, the other day when I visited the palenque, I finally got them from him.
So here they are, 5 Mezcals You Have to Experience, from Alberto Morales of Wahaka Mezcal. If by some chance you can’t get some of his mezcal that is.
Rey Zapoteco – Alberto says this is one the best Espadins around and who am I to argue? I always have this in my collection. You’ll find these guys towards the south end of Matatlán on the right.
Real Matlatl – If you know the folks at Real Matlatl, you would not be surprised to hear that Alberto recommends the Cerrudo. Put simply, it’s a great mezcal. Look for the sign for Don Tacho as you enter Matatlán, also on the right.
Los Javis – Under the direction of Javier and Gloria, Los Javis makes a very good Espadin, which Alberto has high on his list. You can visit Los Javis in Matatlán as well.
Rey Campero – When people think about Rey Campero, their first thought is the Jabali, but Alberto prefers either the Cuishe or the Mexicano. If you want to visit these guys, prepare yourself for a long journey because they are hours away from Oaxaca City. But as we say in Spanish, “vale la pena!”
Viejo Indecente – South of Oaxaca City in San Isidro Guishe, Alberto says you can find some great mezcal cuishe from the Lucas family and their palenque, located in one of the driest areas of Oaxaca.
And Alberto gave me a bonus to share with you…
Mal de Amor – Here’s an extra shout out from Alberto to Armando Hernandez at Palenque Mal de Amor. You’ll find it just before you enter Matatlán, on the right side of the road if you are coming from Oaxaca. Alberto says get their Tepextate.
So there you have it, 5 Mezcals You Have to Experience, and a bonus offering… all from Alberto Morales of Wahaka Mezcal in San Dionesio Ocotepec.
Notes… Alberto picked a couple of these mezcals because the families making them, in addition to making great mezcal, are just good people. The world of mezcal revolves around these close friendships and relationships, because in the end, who wants to drink alone?
Finally, some of these mezcals, great as they are, are simply not available in the states. That means if you really want to experience the true variety mezcal has to offer, you’ve got to come visit us in Oaxaca and experience My Mexico up close and personal.