Mezcal Alipus 20th years 01

LiLiving For Cocktails Logotype in hand made lettering remembering an Art Nouveau Calligraphy

AT LIVING FOR BREAKFAST BY ART COCKTAIL CLUB tittle inside an art decó frame with 2 croissants in each side.

Alipus Palenque in San Juan del Rio

– Alipus Palenque in San Juan del Rio –

CELEBRATING OAXACA & 2O YEARS OF ALIPUS MEZCAL

I

n 2019 we spent more time in Oaxaca than Paris. We go back to our time in Oaxaca with a series of articles on Mezcal, Palenques, Cocktails and the opening of a new bar with a lot of Art Cocktail Club inside: Selva Oaxaca. 

Let’s start with celebrations ! 

July is a festive month in Oaxaca: with Guelaguetza, the annual celebration of cultural and natural diversity starting July 22nd. July is also Alipus birthday: one of our favorite Mezcal from Oaxaca celebrates its 20th anniversary on July 13th !

Alipús

was born in 1999 with Don Joel Antonio and his sons as the first producers, in San Juan del Río.

TODAY,

they bottle 9 Mezcales from 6 terroirs in Oaxaca: San Juan del Rio, Santa Ana del Rio, San Baltazar, San Luis, San Andrès Miahuatlan. Sola de Vega produces 3 Mezcales, each one produced by one “Tìo”: Jésus, Leonardo and Felix.

You need a lot of water to cool down the alambics during distillation, that’s why all the “Rios” in the names: proximity to rivers is strategic for the distillery.

– Cooked agaves –

In case you are planning to adventure into producing your own mezcal here is what you need:

1 . An oven

A big hole in the ground where you will put ripe agaves, cover them with stones and agave fibers, add burning wood and wait from one to a few days for agaves to cook.

An oven ready to cook agaves . Alipus . Mexico

– Cooked agaves –

Please meet Sansòn - Los Danzantes horse Please meet Sansón . Los Danzantes horse –

2 . A Egyptian stone mill

With a horse to pull it and smash the cooked agaves

Big wooden barrels to ferment agave juiceAgave fermenting in open wooden barrels –

3 . Big wooden barrels

To ferment agave juice

Loading a clay alambic in Santa Catarina MinasLoading a clay alambic in Santa Catarina Minas –

4 . An alembic

Copper or clay, we’ll come back to this later. 

 

5 . Bottles

 

6 . No aging barrels

Contrary to Tequila, 99% of the Mezcal is consumed “Joven”, without aging. 

 

7 . A lot of patience

Luck and techniques to go through all the steps.

T

o help with all the process a pivotal moment in the story of Alipùs was the arrival of Karina Abad as the group Director of Production for Los Danzantes group (owner of Alipùs).
Her mission is to distill Los Danzantes Mezcales and to work with each Alipùs Maestro to improve their techniques from the field to the bottle.

But before all the tools and labels remember that “Sin Maguey no hay Mezcal”: without agave there is no Mezcal!
With around 40 different species, Oaxaca is home to the biggest and most diverse variety of agaves in the world. 

 

The queen of Agaves: a wild Tepeztate in Sierra Norte

– The queen of Agaves: a wild Tepeztate in Sierra Norte –

B

efore being ready to be used for distillation, an agave needs to grow from around 5 for Espadin, the cultivated species, to 15 years for wild species.
So when you drink a “young” mezcal you are actually drinking something with between 6 to 15  years of age from field to bottle. In comparison, you can start calling a Cognac a V.S. (Very Special) starting from two years of aging.

 

Agave before and after harvest in Miahuatlan

– Agave before and after harvest in Miahuatlan –

 

 

 

W

ant to make natural spirits ? Bring patience. If you want to make Mezcal you have to cut the whole plant at the peak of its maturity, before it flowers. As Agave is a monocarpic plant it only flowers once in life, pushing a beautiful flower called Quiote.

 

– An agave Quiote

T

hat opens a major sustainability problem: let it flower and you won’t have Mezcal. Cut it and you won’t have new Agaves. See the problem ? Chicken and egg.

To get out of this loop, a few environment-conscious brands have created projects to help the reproduction of Mezcal. Alipus and Los Danzantes are among them with “Proyecto Maguey” a project launched in 2012 that aims at helping the reproduction of wild Agaves.
If you visit Alipùs you will see the Proyecto Maguey greenhouse hosting a kindergarden of baby Arroqueno, Cuishe, Tobala and other wild agaves.

 

Proyecto Maguey Baby Agaves

– Proyecto Maguey Baby Agaves –

It’s an ambitious project and it’s working!
The first bottles of Mezcal made from sustainable harvesting came out in 2019 ! 

In the next article we will bring you to visit some of Alipùs palenques and share the recipes we created for their 20th anniversary.

 

SEE YOU NEXT WEEK MY DEAR MARTINIS FOR MORE OAXACA ADVENTURES 

text & pictures

Claudio Vandi

@vandicla

cocktails

Alexandra Purcaru

@idohaveasister

from

Art Cocktail Club

@artcocktailclub

living for breakfast editor & illustrations

Vincent Moustache

@vincentmoustache

...
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