In August I had the pleasure to stop by and visit with my friend Erick Rodriguez in Mexico City. I first met Erick a few years back when he arrived at Wahaka Mezcal in San Dionesio Ocotepec one morning with Clayton Szczech of Experience Tequila in tow.
What a great morning we all had. I had a small group of friends with me, including a rare visit by my wife, and we were all there to meet Alberto Morales, sample his mezcal, and spend a few hours together.
When it was all done, Erick, an award winning mixologist, put together a wonderful mezcal cocktail, The Green Skull, or as we say in Spanish, The Green Skull. More on that later.
Fast forward a few years and Erick now has his own mezcal brand, Almamezcalera, a private tasting room in Mexico City and a growing following within those in the know about mezcal.
Smart guy that he is, Erick knows a little about marketing too. He’s got these little sample crates floating around Oaxaca and his spot in CDMX that showcase 8 different mezcales. They are the perfect way to introduce yourself to the variety of mezcal that is available through Erick and his partners.
Mezcalera – Maria E Perez of Michoacán… Agave – papalote… Very aromatic (I opened the little bottle and immediately smelled the sweetness). I got fresh mowed hay and cocoa on the nose that carried through on the tongue. This mezcal has a strong mineral finish with some sweetness carried through. It has almost no burn. This is a very nice mezcal. 4 magueys and a recommendation to seek it out.
Mezcalero – Ventura Gallegos of Durango… Agave – cenizo… This one has a concentrated deep earthy aroma underlaid with sweet cherries. There’s some sharpness on the tongue that gives way to a slate rocky beach note that lingers into the easy finish. A very enjoyable mezcal. 3.5 magueys.
Mezcalero – Jorge Torres of Nuevo Leon… Agave – castilla/americana… Here we have beautiful notes of red fruits (this one is fun just to sniff) on the nose. Some mineral taste with heat and underlying hints of fresh vegetation interplaying with smokey notes on the tongue. Again the mineralness comes through on the very long mineral finish. There is a lot going on in this very complex mezcal. 3 magueys
Mezcalero – Fidel Lagarda of Sonora… Agave – lechugilla… Loaded with a deep nose of bakers chocolate. In the mouth, this is joined by sherry and pomegranate notes and a bit of heat wrapped in a light blanket of smoke. The extremely long finish is sweet, balanced by the alcoholic heat. After several minutes it finally gave way to a dry mineral. The subtle nuances of the chocolate and fruit notes makes this mezcal a must have in your collection.
It would be interesting to try this in a cocktail but it is so good on its own, I wouldn’t mix it with anything. This is a 4.5 maguay top of the mountain mezcal and one I’ll be picking up when I finally meet Erick face to face!
So there you have it. Ed’s reviews of four mezcales from Erick Rodriguez and his line of Almamezcalera Mezcal.
Let me add a few more notes. In the interest of full disclosure, Erick and I have become good friends. But that friendship has not colored our reviews. Ed has never met Erick and these reviews were 100% blind on his part. You are reading his totally unbiased reviews.
Earlier I referenced the Green Skull from Erick. Let me just say that this cocktail is a 100% winner around my house when I want to show off mezcal to a group of novatos. Get the recipe after the break, and as always in our reviews, Ed sampled these mezcals blind, receiving only a plain numbered bottle with no description.
The Verde Calavera
- 1 1/2 oz. Wahaka Mezcal Joven Espadin
- 6 oz. Pineapple Nectar
- 10 Basil Leaves
- 1/2 oz. Agave Nectar
- 1/2 oz. lime
- 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.