Visitors and locals in the bars of Mexico have been knocking back Tequila shots for years but now that seems to be changing. Will Grant, of the BBC’s Fast Track programme, went to try out another potent drink distilled from roughly the same unlikely source., agave. In the process he savors Mezcal from the Los Amantes mezcaleria and learns why mezcal is Mexico’s next big thing.
Ten years ago Ignacio Carballido and his business partner the famed Mexican painter Guillermo Olguin were lost in the mountains of Oaxaca. The two friends were looking for a Mezcal producer who lived well off the beaten path and was known for producing a liquor that was the most authentic Mezcal in the world. After travelling for days the two friends were ready to give up when they stumbled accidentally on their goal. What they found was a network of closely guarded small batch distillers, families really, who had been creating Mezcal for generations. Many of the indigenous producers didn’t speak English or Spanish for that matter, so communicating was a challenge and the two men quickly realized that they had uncovered the El Dorado of Mezcal.
It took several years to gain the locals’ trust, but Igancio and Guillermo were able to provide the farmers and distillers with the assistance they needed to get their product on shelves and earn a living. They helped the farmers organize, translating documents necessary to acquire certification since the rural farmers could not read or write, let alone afford certification which came with a hefty tag. Ignacio and Guillermo raised the necessary funds and provided support throughout and now, the two partners have combined their knowledge with recipes and techniques of 3rd generation Mezcal farmers to produce Los Amantes. By combining traditional secrets with contemporary production, Los Amantes is the most genuine and sophisticated Mezcal ever to reach the outside world.