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!
Lately there have been a lot of focus on tastings and master classes about Tequila and Mezcal here in Denmark. Which of course is very positive from my point of wiev. It is how ever very easy when promoting alcohol that taste that good, by itself, to forget to mix it, and a mixed drink is actually most people’s rediscovery of this beautiful spirits. As a result of this conclusion, I got invited to Juuls Vinhandel to do a cocktail follow-up session of the recent Tequila events. I thought to mix a few very simple drinks that anyone can recreate at home. First up was variations of the Paloma, probably the most mixed Tequila drink in Mexico. My first introduction to this drink was while working in Green & Red, where we used Reposado Tequila, fresh pink grapefruit, dash of sugar and sparkling water with a squeezed lime wedge on top, served in a highball glass with a salted rim, while on my first trip to Mexico I found out that it was simply Tequila with a grapefruit soda called Squirt, served with a pinch of salt inside the drink. Yet an other twist on this great drink is the Batanga, which is Tequila with coke and half a lime squeezed in, served in a highball with a salted rim. One of my favourite drinks for the moment is Tequila and Tonic, so I added a bit of fresh pink grapefruit juice to it, a squeeze of lime, added a salt rim and ended up with Paloma No 19. Showcasing these four drinks in the shop was great fun, and the customers found it interesting to try such simple twists on the same drink, with a very big difference in taste. The last drink on the menu for the day is one I am very proud of, it is called Bienvenidos and is a mix(4:2:2) of Del Maguey’s Vida, Kahlua and fresh lime juice, served straight up with a lime zest, which apparently appeals a lot to scotch drinkers. It was really a good experience standing in the middle of a busy liquor store on a friday afternoon talking about the booze that I love and mixing good drinks with it. Thanks to everybody who came down and supported, karma will credit you for that, I am sure.
If you want more detailed recipies drop me a line, Buen Domingo!
Fifth of May or as we more commonly know it, Cinco de Mayo, is when Tequila heads around the world goes nuts. Bring out your best sombrero and all the other tacky mexican decorations we get in Europe and last but not least, a shit load of Tequila, the more the better. In Copenhagen this day has for the last few years been celebrated quite hard in the bar community. Most people don’t really know why, but it is a reason as good as any for getting hammered on Tequila. This year though, I could not be a part of the tradition in Copenhagen, but even better I got to spend it with some of my close friends in London. I knew that ment trouble from the moment we planned this trip. Not only was it Cinco de Mayo, but also holiday, you know what that means. Go all out!
I started that day with a bit of Tequila shopping, thought i would take advantage of the situation. No time to spill so we had the first Tequila at 2pm at Hawksmoor Seven Dials. A glass of Altos Reposado and a few beers later we went across the road to Cafe Pacifico where Matthias Lataille prepared for us to blind taste nine different Tequilas. Four blanco’s and five reposado’s. We were instructed to taste them one by one and write down the first three things that came to mind, and try to be as specific as possible. When we had tried all of them, we played a guessing game, what is highland and what is lowland, given general guide lines of highlands being more fruity and lowland being more earthy. Looking at what we wrote down, this made everything more confusing. And this whole exercise was much harder than is sounds, but much fun. I learnt some great things about my palate, mainly that after 2 days of hard-drinking, I shouldn’t trust it.
After a great session we hit the bar for some guacamole and beers and decided to hit La Perla for pitchers of margarita followed but great food at Wahaca in Soho. Plates of food kept coming and so did the Tequila, but there was something missing, a bottle of Del Maguey Mezcal for dessert and the party was on. We ended the night at El Camion, Dick Bradsels new Tequila joint. After a few drinks and some shady dance moves, I remember thinking, this is it, no more, so I bought a bottle of Altos Blanco, everything after that is blank.
So why do we celebrate Cinco de Mayo again? Well long story short, in 1861 Mexico stopped paying interest on loans the Mexican government had accepted from a bunch of European countries, they obviously got pissed off, and said, but why? And went across the Atlantic to claim their money back. The easiest way to claim money back is to threaten the poor Mexican with the biggest weapons available. But on the 5th of May 1862 the Mexicans stood up to the French troops and pushed them out of Puebla, and it was all good. Well, not really the troops joined forces and went to Mexico City instead and occupied the presidents throne, and just like that the emperor of Mexico was french. Until 1867 when Benito Juarez, the president of Mexico at the time, got tired of the french emperor, killed him and sent all the french home, so there you go, the story of Cinco de Mayo in my very own words.
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