In Tequila News…

Forbes reports that tequila could be a good choice for people who want to drink AND lose weight. The study was conducted on mice. For a minute I was excited to imagine mice wearing tiny sombreros and drinking tiny tragos of Herradura, but then the author dashed my dreams: “Agavins, derived from the agave plant that’s used to make tequila, were found in mouse studies to trigger insulin production and lower blood sugar, as well as help obese mice lose […]

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Improved Mezcal Norms in the Works

Maguey field in guerrero

I consider myself more knowledgeable about tequila and mezcal than your average gringa, but I felt out of my depth during today’s fascinating interview with mezcal expert Clayton Szczech. Szczech is the owner of Experience Tequila and Experience Mezcal  and has published a series of well-written and extremely informative articles on potential changes in the norm for mezcal labeling, a process “that would take major steps toward elevating the status of artisanal mezcal and its producers by means of some […]

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Food Tourism in Mexico?

A bin of Mole Negro mix in a Oaxaca market

I recently received the following note from a reader who is planning a week-long trip to Mexico for his dad’s 70th birthday. Daniel writes: My brothers and I want to take our Dad to Mexico this December or January–Oaxaca and Mexico City maybe. My Dad is a chef and so we were thinking there might be a guide that could show us the best food experiences with the most appropriate accommodations etc. My Dad has been cooking Mexican for years […]

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Seven Common Misconceptions about Tequila and Mezcal

A pile of agave cores, ready to be roasted for mezcal.

Tequila and mezcal are made from “cactus juice.” Agave is not a cactus, but rather a member of the botanical order Asparagales, which includes asparagus and narcissus. (Native to the New World, the genus Agave is exceedingly diverse, with well over 100 varieties in Mexico alone.) Mezcal is a type of Tequila. If you want to get down to brass tacks (and I think you do), Tequila is a variation on mezcal, or distilled agave spirits. Mexican laws about the […]

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Cerveza Rising: Mexico's Craft Beer Revolution

A picture of a bottle of Hidalgo beer, from Mexico.

  When I was in my twenties, I considered Mexico to be beer heaven. At the time I was an avowed drinker of cheap light beer and Mexican beer was basically a better, slightly cheaper version of the beer I was drinking at home (Olympia and Rainier). Then I turned 30 and something terrible happened: I developed a taste for  craft beer. This was bad news on a number of levels. For one thing, it fit into a distinct and […]

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Book Review: Alcohol in Ancient Mexico

I am not a big online shopper and I rarely have spare money, but there was no way I could restrain myself from ordering a book called Alcohol in Ancient Mexico. I’m sorry, but even I can’t actually come up with a title better aimed to entrap me. Cheese in Ancient Mexico comes close, but would of course have to be a fantasy, since obviously dairy products were not a part of the ancient Mexican diet. Not to, uh, sound […]

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Noticias 5/22/2013

La Migra – The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the so-called Gang-of-Eight’s immigration reform bill 13-5, which includes a path to citizenship. After surviving a flurry of amendments intended to water the bill down, the bill now goes to the Senate floor where Republican Senators face the choice of angering their base or further alienating Hispanic voters. An immigration bill is also expected to be introduced to the House of Representatives in June. Negocios – Nestle has opened a 130 million […]

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Badgers Against Nescafe

  My friends Kat and Chris call me Badger. This name does not stem (I hope anyway) from my badger-like build, but rather my charming personality, which needs a coffee jump-start before it submits to the taming influences of civilization. Other than folding dirty tarps and crossing international borders, my least favorite thing about traveling is my eternal morning dilemma: How to acquire my coffee? When we camp or stay in a motel, I have a kitchen set-up that can […]

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Roasted Hearts and Winding Roads: Adventures in Oaxaca's Mezcal Country

A cask of mezcal marked with agave picture.

The wooden cask reads “Reserva de los Dioses”, or “Reserve of the Gods”. Indeed. At a mezcal distillery in the highlands of Oaxaca, an erudite, well-dressed man is pouring generous shots of liquor into real glasses. He looks to be in his mid thirties and says he has been in the mezcal business for 12 years. He learned from his father, who has been in the business for 40 years. The father sits in the shade of their roadside shack. […]

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