TALES OF THE COCKTAIL 2011 – part 4 – Before Man the Plant

BEFORE MAN THE PLANT

Ron Cooper showing us a picture of a bowl of pulque.

And now comes the last part of my recap of the Tales this year and my last session to write about was all about agave – tequila and mezcal.

The session was moderated by Steve Olson and the panelists were  Paciano Cruz Nolasco, David Grapshi, David Suro-Pinera, Iván Saldaña, Misty Kalkofen, Phil Ward, Ron Cooper, Tomas Estes

This 3 hour long seminar was preceeded by a Del Maguey tasting which i also attended. There i did meet both Ron Cooper and also the maker of my favorite Del Maguey mezcals – the San Luis del Rio and the Crema, which contains San Luis del Rio.

it was an interesting tasting and some very fresh cocktails, my favorite was made with fresh muddled pineapple.

A pineapple and one of those wooden mallets i hope to find some day.

Mezcal cocktail extravaganza!

Roasted agave to chew on – it´s tasty.

In a 3 hour long session there´s a lot being said and there´s no way i can recap it all or even half of it. But we got to kearn a lot about agave spirits.

For example that withn the genus agave there´s 150- 300 different species and they are not related to the cactus but to plants like onions, palm trees, garlic, pineapples, aspargus and artichokes who belongs to the lilies.

By definition the agave is the biological reaction of adaption to stress..and has adopted all the ways and requirements needed to ensure it survive in harsh conditions.

Terroir – which is a french term to describe the natural conditions that affect the growing organism – can affect size, maturity, sugar maturation and even shape.  Terroir is soil, climate, year round temperatures, day and night humidity, wind, air quality and sun exposure.

And after terroir we have the final touch – the hand of the maker. Agave is a fascinating plant and so ancient…

In the state of Jalisco where 95% of all agaves are grown and tequila made, there are two regions producing two differerent taste profiles of tequila. First the tequila valley where the tequila is described as masculine (wine-term) earthy and herbacious while in the second – Los Altos the Jalisco (the highlands) the tequila is said to be feminine, round and fruity.

These are no exact descriptions, it´s only generality and does not apply to all tequilas in these two regions to fit into the descriptions. But terroir is becoming more and more important.

The word mezcal comes from the pre-hispanic nahuatl language. Metl meant “maguey” and mezcalmetl meant “roast maguey” The common used word for agave today in Oaxaca and most of Mexico is maguey. But when you point at the plant in the tequila region people say “mezcal”

I`m not going into how tequila and mezcal is made, i´ve posted about that before and there´s tons of info on the net, let´s just say it´s handcrafted spirits that goes deep back in it`s  history and the lives of the makers and that has lots of flavor!

Y`all just have to come down to the Tales next year and see the sessions for yourselves and taste some great spirits and cocktails. Next year is the 10th anniversary as well so expect a lot of activity…

Tastings tastings…

A mezcal clay cup – they are called copitas, it tastes better in them.

Ready to imbibe…

Thirsty? come to Tales 10 year anniversary next year!

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