EZdrinking

Searching for the world's best drinks and what makes them extraordinary.

Searching for the world's best drinks and what makes them extraordinary. EZdrinking is a drinks blog by Eric Zandona that focuses on distilled spirits, wine, craft beer and specialty coffee. Here you can find reviews of drinks, drink books, articles about current & historical trends, as well as how to make liqueurs, bitters, and other spirit based drinks at home.

Filtering by Tag: Mezcal

Review: Miel de Tierra Añejo Mezcal

AT A GLANCE

  • Owned by: Miel de Tierra

  • Distilled by: Doña Teresa Rubio Murillo

  • Agave: Tequilana Weber Azul

  • Cooking: Autoclave

  • Crush: Roller Mill

  • Fermentation: Stainless Steel Vats

  • Still Type: Copper Alembic Pot Still

  • Age Statement: 2-5 Years

  • Spirit Type: Añejo Mezcal Artesanal

  • Strength: 40% ABV

  • Price: $65

Miel de Tierra Añejo Mezcal Artesanal is distilled by maestra mezcalera Doña Teresa Rubio Murillo in Jalpa, Zacateca. The agaves are harvested at 10 years old and then cooked in autoclave. The cooked piñas are then crushed with a mechanical grinder, before being fermented in stainless steel vats with a commercial yeast. Given the flavor profile, my guess is the juice is being fermented without the fibers. After fermentation, the must is double distilled in a copper alembic pot stills and the spirit is aged in virgin white oak casks. Doña Teresa then selects casks that had aged between two and five years, vatts them together, and proofs the spirit to 40% ABV before bottling. The town of Jalpa is just 40 miles from the border of Jalisco, so given its proximity, it is not surprising that this mezcal is made almost identically to may añejo tequilas. According to the brand, Miel de Tierra shares a portion of the profits from every bottle sold in helping to conserve wild honeybees in rural Mexico.

TASTING NOTES

Nose: The nose has a lot of wood character, which is not surprising given its age. The aroma consist primarily of sweet aromas of caramel followed by light spicy notes from the oak, and a hint of black licorice.

Palate: On the palate, the flavor has a delicate character from the wood with virtually no flavors from the agave.

Finish: Wood notes of vanilla, caramel oak slowly fade on the finish and ends very soft and light.

Conclusion: Miel de Tierra Añejo is a bit of a disappointment in that all the agave character seems to have been lost during the maturation process. Given how it is made, my guess is that blanco spirit is so clean and well made that, what are probably very delicate flavors and aromas in the joven just get lost in the two plus year of aging. Because of this most fans of mezcal will probably not be excited by this. However, at $65 this is still a pretty good deal for an añejo and would likely appeal to a large number of Tequila drinkers who prefer smooth and sweet añejos without much agave character.

For more information watch my review with Mike Morales on Tequila Aficionado’s Sipping off the Cuff.

Miel de Tierra Añejo Mezcal Artesanal Review | Tequila Aficionado Sipping off the Cuff

Review: Miel de Tierra Espadin Mezcal Artesanal

AT A GLANCE

  • Owned by: Miel de Tierra

  • Distilled by: Don Hector Mateo

  • Agave: Espadin

  • Cooking: Horno (earthen pit oven)

  • Crush: Tahona

  • Fermentation: Natural fermentation in pine vats

  • Still Type: Copper Alembic Pot Still

  • Spirit Type: Joven Mezcal Artesanal

  • Strength: 40% ABV

  • Price: $55

Miel de Tierra Espadin Mezcal Artesanal is distilled by maestro mezcalero Don Hector Mateo in Santiago de Matatlán, Oaxaca. Don Hector harvest the agaves once they’ve reached maturity, between six and eight years old. Once harvested, the agaves are cooked in an earthen pit oven, and then crushed with a three-ton tahona before being fermented in open air pine vats by wild yeast. After fermentation, it is double distilled in a copper alembic pot still, proofed to 40% ABV and bottled unaged. According to the brand, Miel de Tierra shares a portion of the profits from every bottle sold in helping to conserve wild honeybees in rural Mexico.

TASTING NOTES

Nose: The nose has a classic aroma of artisanal mezcals from espadin, with light floral notes intermixed with earthy aromas of smoke.

Palate: On the palate, the mezcal delivers with a wonderful and bright flavor of herbaceous lime gently supported by the smoke.

Finish: The mezcal finishes incredibly smooth without any of the burn that you sometimes find in more rustic unrefined mezcals.

Conclusion: Miel de Tierra Espadin is a great introduction to the classic aromas and flavors of Oaxacan mezcal distilled from espadin. At 40% ABV the mezcal has solid flavor without any burn and shows the skill of the maker. This is a very tasty mezcal that can please those who already enjoy the category and can serve as a perfect introduction for those interested in tasting what the hype about mezcal is all about.

For more information watch my review with Mike Morales on Tequila Aficionado’s Sipping off the Cuff.

Miel de Tierra Espadin Mezcal Artesanal Review | Tequila Aficionado Sipping off the Cuff

Review: Miel de Tierra Salmiana Mezcal Artesanal

AT A GLANCE

  • Owned by: Miel de Tierra

  • Distilled by: Don Juan Zarur Flores

  • Agave: Salmiana

  • Cooking: Horno (earthen pit oven)

  • Crush: Tahona

  • Fermentation: Natural fermentation in pine vats

  • Still Type: Copper Alembic Pot Still

  • Spirit Type: Joven Mezcal Artesanal

  • Strength: 40% ABV

  • Price: $75

Miel de Tierra Salmiana Joven Mezcal Artesanal is distilled by maestro mezcalero Don Juan Zarur Flores in Mexquitic de Carmona, San Luis Potosí. Agave salmiana reaches maturity around 10 years old when it is harvested and cooked in an earthen pit oven. After cooking the agaves are crushed with a three-ton tahona and fermented in open air pine vats by wild yeast. After fermentation, it is double distilled in a copper alembic pot still, then proofed to 40% ABV and bottled unaged. Agave salmiana is commonly used in the production of pulque. According to the brand, Miel de Tierra shares a portion of the profits from every bottle sold in helping to conserve wild honeybees in rural Mexico.

TASTING NOTES

Nose: The nose is a complex mixture of savory aromas like hard aged cheese and smoked meats, followed by a sweet note of cooked agave and pickled carrots like those found in your local taqueria.

Palate: The palate starts very sweet and then transforms into a lovely savory umami character.

Finish: On the finish faint notes of smoke float up from the back of your throat and continues its nice balance of sweet and savory.

Conclusion: Miel de Tierra Salmiana is a very balanced and approachable mezcal that expresses the core character of the agave without being overpowered by smoke. This is likely to appeal to mezcal fans as well as tequila drinkers who are interested in trying mezcal. Sip neat and enjoy.

For more information watch my review with Mike Morales on Tequila Aficionado’s Sipping off the Cuff.

Miel de Tierra Salmiana Joven Mezcal Artesanal Reveiw | Tequila Aficionado Sipping off the Cuff

Review: Los Vecinos del Campo Espadin Mezcal Artesanal

AT A GLANCE

  • Owned by: Sazerac Co.

  • Distilled by: Casa San Matias

  • Agave: Espadin

  • Cooking: Horno (earthen pit oven)

  • Crush: Tahona

  • Fermentation: Natural fermentation in pine vats

  • Still Type: Copper Pot Still

  • Spirit Type: Joven Mezcal Artesanal

  • Strength: 45% ABV

  • Price: $30

Los Vecinos del Campo Espadin Mezcal Artesanal is made by Casa San Matias, a co-op that consists of 10 mezcal families in the central valley of Oaxaca. The agaves are cooked in an earthen pit oven, and crushed with a tahona. The must, fibers and all, is fermented in open air wooden vats by wild yeast, and then double distilled in copper pot stills. After distillation, the mezcal is proofed to 45% ABV and bottled unaged.

TASTING NOTES

Nose: Initially the nose starts closed with just a faint hint of alcohol. The aroma slowly opens up with a light note of espadin mixed with three smell of a burning campfire without the smoke.

Palate: On the palate the mezcal is very powerful. It starts bright and sweet with a strong vegetal character which then transforms into a savory salty flavor like Parmesan cheese.

Finish: The finish is very long with a lingering smoke character and the flavor of salty cheese like Oaxacan quesillo.

Conclusion: Los Vecinos del Campo Espadin is a nice mezcal with good body and structure that will work particularly well in cocktails. The mezcal starts and finishes strong but it falls flat in the mid-palate. Because of that, this espadin will show best in drinks like a Mezcal Negroni, Mezcal Margarita, or a Oaxacan Old Fashioned rather than sipping neat.

For more information watch my review with Mike Morales on Tequila Aficionado’s Sipping off the Cuff.

On Leaving San Francisco & Loving Oaxaca

View of San Francisco looking north from  Bernal Heights Park. © 2017 EZdrinking

August 1st, my family and I gave up our rent controlled studio apartment in San Francisco and moved to Oaxaca, Mexico. Given the current housing market in San Francisco, we are well aware that this probably means we will never be able to afford to move back. But, we made our peace with that and embraced the adventure. Two months in we have seen a riot, a four week garbage strike, and two major earthquakes.  That being said, there is a lot to like, even love about Oaxaca.

Moving away from the Bay Area and the only home I've ever known, I expected to be somewhat homesick and pine for all that San Francisco has to offer. But after some time to reflect, I can honestly say there are not many things that I miss about San Francisco. While I have yet to find a substitute for the perfectly portioned cappuccinos from Ritual and Four Barrel, much of the food and cocktail culture that makes the City an exciting place to live was quickly moving out of economic reach for us.

That being said, the thing I miss the most about San Francisco are the people. My my work, our church, and our neighborhood allowed my wife and I to create a fantastic and supportive community that continued to grow and expand. One of the things that I like most about San Francisco is the opportunity the City provides for networking within your field and the ability to meet people from very different walks of life. I could walk into any number of bars or cafes in my neighborhood and meet tech entrepreneurs or an electrician, Chinese immigrants or gay transplants from Georgia. But, despite our fantastic community and all that the we love about the City, the mundane activities of buying groceries, paying for healthcare and childcare were beginning to take a financial toll. 

Through a series of conversations with friends and family, we decided to move to Oaxaca, Mexico for a 6 month trial period. One of the great advantages of living here is the reduced cost of living. And, after being here for a couple of months I was able to realize the emotional strain the financial stress of San Francisco had caused. I now feel much more at ease which has made it easier to deal with a new cultural as well as the difficulty associated with living outside Oaxaca City without a car.

Oaxaca has a very strong sense of pride in its culinary contributions to Mexico and the rest of the world. Coffee, chocolate, mole, mezcal, and new to me, the rich and creamy chocolaty drink called tejate. In addition to enjoying this rich culinary tradition, Oaxaca City and the surrounding areas are large enough to be a thriving metropolis with lots of interesting events, and small enough that lots of people know each other within a given field making it somewhat easier to network.

Oaxaca is a vibrant, bustling, fun and at times chaotic, and confusing place to live. Most people we have met love our kids and have been very warm towards us, which has made living here much easier. Here we can afford to put our oldest son in preschool which has been great for him. And, like San Francisco, the best part of Oaxaca has definitely been the people and their willingness to welcome us and share their rich lives full of family, food, drinks and history. These new relationships have allowed me to deepen my knowledge of mezcal and Oaxacan coffee but, more on that later. 

View from our back patio in Huayapam, Oaxaca, Mexico. © 2017 EZdrinking