If you happen to be in Copenhagen right now, you happen to be in a very good place for Mezcal! Since 2012 when we got the first mezcal in to the country it has gone pretty fast. Unfortunately not the same for this blog. But a lot has happened the last few years. As this blog has been decreasing in activity, Scandinavian Agave Project (link below) has found it’s roots in Copenhagen. Recently we (The Barking Dog) opened a liquor store & tasting room(Shoppen), in the same area as the bar. This has become the head quarters for Scandinavian Agave Project. It also offers the most interesting selection of mezcal in Denmark. The tasting room is being used to spread the love for agave spirits, but more important than that to let people now what is going on in the world of agave right now. It is a very fragile business and it is important that we (preachers of mezcal) know who we are supporting and what they stand for. There is no reason not to support producers that think about the future of agave, and do something about it. With such a great demand for artisanal mezcal it is even more important that we know what our producers are up to, how do they treat waste from production? Are they replanting agaves for the future? And are they getting paid what they are supposed? If you do not have the possibility of visiting the producers themselves, at least demand to get all the information from your local mezcal dealer. We still have the power in he mezcal world, but how long will it be before major companies bring out the big guns?
Viva Mezcal! Salud!
So what that means in reality is that about a month ago I got a text past midnight sometime. Jaime Muñoz from Los Danzantes is in town hosting a last-minute Mezcal masterclass. Whit such short notice the turn up was great, we got about 20 people together, which is a good number for an intimate masterclass. Quite naturally after the masterclass we got to talking. Talking lead to drinking. Drinking led to dancing, and just like that, another great night was over. Trying to scribble a little something together after that was not really fair to my memory, and lucky for me Jaime was in town for another couple of days, for the Copenhagen Cooking festival. As we all know Mexican food is best served with a glass of Mezcal on the side. Backed by the Mexican embassy Jand his crew from Los Danzantes were delivering just this, food and Mezcal. As well as making 22.000 liters of artisanal Mezcal every year, Danzantes also own three restaurants around Mexcio. I have been writing about production of Mezcal a few time already, so I wont bother you with that this time, but more about one of the men behind Danzantes. I do remember a few things that we spoke about on our night out, and after emailing back and for it is now all clear. Jaime said that we do not choose to work with the maguey (agave), but the maguey chooses us. ” The people who in the last few years got involved with Mezcal have been chosen by Mezcal, to spread the word. It’s an information from the soil that wants to be liberated. Through the agave/mezcal he will find his way and is chosen by the people to find the objective. We get chosen like you, Axel and me did. We just taste the Mezcal and make Mezcal a lifestyle. Without knowing how we get involved in the business, we will find each other.” The name Danzantes comes from a ancient spiritual dance named Los Danzantes Concheros and in the ancient dance of Concheros exist the NAHUAL, that is the soul of an animal that take care of you in this life, and everybody has one, which explains the label on the Danzantes bottle, Jaime and his two brothers.
Danzantes has another brand called Alipus, which is produced in different villages bu different distillers. We have had Alipus in Denmark for a while now, but Jaime had an ace up his sleeve. Alipus Sta. Ana Del Rio, one of the most interesting Mezcals I have tried in a long time. Unfortunately this is only avalible in Oaxaca, probably only in the village of Santa Ana Del Rio. ” The producer Eduardo Hernandez Melchor is an indigenous from the mountains of Oaxaca and he only speck his indigenous dialect and for a Mezcal can be export have to be certificate by COMERCAM that is the organisation that takes care of the quality of Mezcal, and they only speak Spanish, so in a few words it’s a communication problem.” Jaime Thank you very much for this bottle. It has been tasted by many, and will be tasted by more, but not too many, ought a have some for myself.
As for Jaimes impression of Copenhagen. ” Well is very different from where I come, is very organized, elegant and sophisticated. The design is very impressive and the architecture, old and new are very nice.But the best thing is the women, they are beautiful! “
It is a lot happening in Mezcal Denmark right now. About a month ago we received our first shipment of quality Mezcal, and a month later it is all sold out. Not really as I expected though, a few bars, but a lot of private enthusiasts were there early to pick up some of the best Mezcal known to man. The conclusion of this is that we will have to order a lot more! Great news for a dry Denmark.
Yesterday we thought it was about time to put all our brands to the test (Del Maguey, Alipus, Los Danzantes & Piedre Almas). Me and Max (from Juuls) invited a handful of the top bartenders from around town, a few interested waitresses and a couple of booze writers, to a down to earth tasting forum. We wanted to create conversation around the products, tasting back to back and most importantly, get people’s honest opinion about Mezcal. Everybody was welcomed with a cocktail I created especially for this event, a healthy measure of Alipus San Andres, squeeze of lemon, a touch of agave sirup and a sprig of mint, built in a snifter with a few ice cubes. A Mexican take on the classic Ti’Punch, let us call is Juulietta to suit the occasion. After a short introduction to Mezcal we moved down into the cellar where a tasting tabled had been prepared. Before we started tasting, we did a little warm-up exercise for the mouth to be ready for what was to come. This exersise is very simple. Pour yourself a glass of Mezcal / Tequila and follow theese steps. 1. Wet your lips and let them air dry and you will find a lot of flavour on your lips, which is one place we never really think of when it comes to tasting. 2. Take a small sip and rub it around your gums with your tounge, this will burn a little bit, but is well worth it afterwards. 3. Take a small sip and leave it under your tounge for 5-10 seconds. 4. Take a small sip and use your tounge to rub it around your palate. 5. The final step is where you start building your library of Agave spirits. On your tounge. Leave a small sip on top of your tounge and let is massage it for a bit. There will be a bit of burn, and for most people the burn will be in different places, this is how you remember each and every brand. If you are well-trained that is. To have some kind of reference we did the warm-up and first tasting with the most widely available Mezcal in Denmark, Lajita. Then it was onto the heavy artillery. It does not really make any sense for me to put everybody’s tasting notes and thoughts on here, so I wont. Just make sure you come to the next tasting hosted by Tres Mariachis!
Salud Amigos y Amigas, jajajaja!!
This past few weeks have been filled with hard work and a lot of goodies. Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th was the first of many Copenhagen Spirits and Cocktails(.com). Copenhagen’s first bar show. A few weeks before that I started cooperating with Juuls(.dk) Vinhandel. A liquor store very dedicated to scotch whisky, but there is so much more than scotch in their excellent shop, as from yesterday they also have a great selection of Mezcal, so far they have Piedre Almas, Alipus, Los Danzantez, Del Maguey and there is more to come. You all remember Axel Huhn(mezcaleria.de), my Mezcal crazy friend from Berlin who I met at BCB in october. He did Denmark a big favour and delivered a pallet of Mezcal just in time for CSC, unfortunately we could not get everything on time, but we had more than enough to make some serious noise at this exceptional bar show. A lot of people got introduced to Mezcal over those two days, and due to a large international interest in the show Denmark got put on the map for serious Mezcal and Tequila. Funny enough I found it easier to introduce Mezcal to the visitors than Tequila, there you go.. That is what generations of scotch drinkers does to a nation, and I am thankful for it, you make my life easier.
The first day at CSC I devoted to the beauty of a simple Slutty Mary made with Viva Mexico Blanco, in the small but comfortable house of Barkonsult(.com). What better cocktail to serve at a bar show that starts 10:00 in the morning? Great Success. Right across the aisle I overlooked all my Mezcal in the house of Juuls and took a stroll every now and then to refill my glass and have a chat with the boys.
Day two Juuls had 2 hours in the main bar and I was asked to make two cocktails to showcase Mezcal and Tequila. On top of this I had the pleasure to work with a very good friend and old college, Mikael Nilsson from Salon 39 who mixed up two fine drinks using either Rye Whiskey or Gin. A little sad for Tequila, my cocktail with Mezcal stole all the thunder. A very simple concoction of Del Maguey Vida, Kahlua and fresh lime. Smokey, fresh, exotic and strong, just like the end to a very good weekend!
Skål i Mezcal!
40ml Del Maguey Vida
20ml Fresh Lime
Simply stirr this drink ice cold and garnish with a lime twist