Connoisseurs of mezcal have long been mystified by its unique flavor and rich heritage. But it seemed like this year, for the first time, the smoky agave spirit moved past its niche label into the mainstream. Demand rose from NYC to L.A. as more bars began to feature it on their menus through clever and inviting cocktails; The New Yorker wrote a long feature about the trend, as did we; meanwhile, Ron Cooper, founder of Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal, won the James Beard for “Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional,” beating out Sam Calagione from Dogfish Head, Rob Tod from Allagash Brewing Company and Harlen Wheatley from Buffalo Trace Distillery.
Of the more notable bottles to hit shelves this year was Del Maguey’s Single Village Espituosa de Puebla. Its entry marked the first time ever that a mezcal from Puebla — the most recent state to be added to the Denomination of Origin for Mezcal, despite having among the oldest traditions of mezcal-making in Mexico — has entered the US. It’s delicious, with a creamy mouthfeel and notes of citrus. But more so, the first mezcal from Puebla is a reminder, too, that the mezcal boom in the US has only just begun.
Town of Origin: San Pablo Ameyaltepec, Puebla
Distiller: Aurelio Gonzalez Tobon