Wahaka Mezcal- This is not that cheap worm in the bottle stuff

May 22, 2012

As of late I've been trying liquors that I have very little practical knowledge of.  Mezcal is one of these spirits.  There has been a lot of buzz lately over protecting the methods and ingredients used to produce Mezcal.  A DDO or Denominacion de Origen has been established to protect these methods in a similar fashion in Mexico to the protection of Cachaca in Brazil.  This means by law, you cannot produce Mezcal outside of the protected region. 

From the Wahaka Website:

Wahaka  Mezcal is an artisanal mezcal produced by  5th generation mezcaleros from San Dionisio Ocotepec, Oaxaca, Mexico. Recently certified USDA organic, Wahaka comes in five unique varieties: our estate farmed agave (Joven Espadin and Espadin Reposado con Gusano), two wild agaves (Highland Tobalá  and Lowland Madre Cuishe) and our signature Ensamble, a blend of all our agaves. Wahaka products are 100% agave, 100% organic and 100% authentic. Always. Wahaka Mezcal produces its mezcales using sustainable harvesting techniques and traditional production procedures. The story of Mezcal – like all knowledge -  is a personal journey. Salud! “El respeto al derecho ajeno es la paz.” – Don Benito Juarez (loosely translates as: “Respect for each others’ rights is the basis for peace.”)

 The USDA has granted certification to the Wahaka, but this is not a trend, it is a way of life that stretches back to the 17th Century if not further.

From the Wahaka Website:

Unlike its popular relative tequila, mezcal can be made from a variety of agave plants, and is indigenous to seven different states of Mexico, the most prominent being Oaxaca. The distillation process involves crushing the agave hearts using a traditional millstone, after roasting them in earthen pits – giving it its signature smoky, smooth flavor. Despite the years of history behind mezcal, the spirit is just now starting to gain popularity in the United States.


I'm still unsure of Mezcal. 

Sure, I've had Mezcal before- but mostly directly from the bottle.  I attended college for a year in Southern California.  It seemed that at every college party there was a bottle of Mezcal being passed around from hand to lips.  Some say that Mezcal has mystical properties.  I think in large enough quantities any distilled liquors becomes mystical- just before you teeter over the edge to total destruction.  And the worm in the bottle?  That is a marketing fraud.  It's only in there to make you sick.  I know.

So I've never really taken the time to enjoy this mysterious spirit.  Sure, I have a couple bottles of Mezcal in my bar... Mostly untasted.  You could say I was afraid of what I might find.

The Wahaka Mezcal is unlike other small sips of Mezcal that I've tasted recently. 

As I said above, I know very little about Mezcal. 

Consejo Mexicano Regulador de la Calidad de Mezcal A.C. (Comercam)  

Wahaka Mezcal is certified by the Mexican regulating body controlling the quality of mezcal — the Consejo Mexicano Regulador de la Calidad de Mezcal A.C. (Comercam). With Wahaka, you know you’re getting the real deal!

Tasting Notes:

Wahaka Tobalá

This is a wild agave- Marvelously smoky and pure. Crystal Clear with no artificial caramel coloring or flavoring agents added.  A recent Double Gold Medal winner at the San Francisco World Spirits Awards.  There is a magnificent Terroir to this Mezcal.  White flowers reveal themselves as does the subtle buzz, from the back of your neck up your spine directly into your brain.  A serious spirit as elegant as Single Malt Scotch or well aged rum.  The finish of roasted Agave goes on and on.  I have a certain clarity in hearing.  Are the warriors coming?  Soon enough. 

40% ABV (80 Proof); 100% Tobalá

Wahaka Madre Cuishe

A bit more approachable than the Tobalá.  I'm immediately taken by the smell of rain after a prolonged dry spell.  There is fire in there too and the rain sizzles as it hits the flame.  I'm intrigued by the smoke and the aroma of dried fruits that spin around my tongue and finish with a candy sugar sweetness, not unlike a Trappist Beer from Belgium.  I'm impressed.  I can hear the drums and it's time to have another sip.  But first one must be tossed onto the floor to summon the spirits!

40% ABV (80 Proof); 100% Madre Cuishe

Wahaka Espadin Joven

Still more approachable than the Wahaka Madre Cuishe or the Wahaka Tobalá, there is a marvelous sweetness that belies the ever-present smoke and char of the roasted Agave fruit.  I found this elixir to be marvelously mixable with a squirt of Agave Syurp and freshly squeezed lime juice.  But to twist it up in my unique Cocktail Whisperer style, I would need to char the lime before juicing, adding a deeper element to the already powerful flavor of the earth.  Also, in keeping with my twisted style, I added a portion of Tenneyson Absinthe to the mixture.  Some smoke, some fire and some hauntingly gorgeous flavors- combined together to ensure cocktail literacy of a much further fashion.  One undiscovered, unknown and un-tasted prior.

San Dionisio Cocktail

Will obliterate even the most stout of drinkers to a place undiscovered, yet only dreamt.

A liquid fairy tale in your glass!

Serves two thirsty mind travelers


3 Shots Wahaka Tobalá

1 Shot Tenneyson Absinthe

Bitter End Mexican Mole' Bitters

1/4-1/2 cup grilled lime juice- first sliced into rounds, then grilled over hard-wood charcoal, then juiced yielding 1/4-1/2 cup (a bunch of limes will be needed!)

4 Tablespoons Agave Syrup or more to taste


To a mixing glass filled 1/4 with ice add the Mezcal and the Absinthe

Add the grilled lime juice

Adjust sweetness with Agave Syrup- to taste

Pour (with reverence) into ceramic- shot glasses, drop two drops of the Bitter End Mexican Mole' Bitters over the top and hope for the best on your journey into your mind.