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Monday, September 21, 2015

Amaras Mixes Mezcal with Sustainability

Posted By on Mon, Sep 21, 2015 at 12:00 PM

click to enlarge Espadín - MEZCAL AMARÁS
  • Mezcal Amarás
  • Espadín

There's a few reasons why mezcal is frequently lauded as the "scotch of tequila.'" Elegance and complexity certainly have something to do with it. But the most obvious connection is smoke. And where there's smoke, there's fire. In the case of Anchor Distilling's Mezcal Amaras, there's plenty to go around. Nosing a bottle of its 82-proof Espadin is not unlike sitting around a Oaxacan campfire, in fact. Beyond the inviting, vegetal notes of this exceptional sipping spirit, is a brand that was launched in 2010 to help promote economic and ecologic sustainability in the fragile region where it is produced.

Specifically, Mezcal Amaras reinvests 15 percent of its gross profits into local communities in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, the birthplace of mezcal. Since a mature agave plant must be upwards of 10 years old before it's ready for distillation, Amaras consistently plants 10 for every one it plucks from the earth. The company also pays its workers higher wages across the board, in comparison to the industry standard, and plans to support educational and nutritional needs in the small village of San Juan del Rio, where the operation is headquartered.

Good for the psyche, and, it turns out, great in cocktails as well.

Cala, the city's newest seafood-focused Mexican eatery is set to open this week with a drink built around Mezcal Amaras Espadín. Bartender Gina Scheurte revealed to SF Weekly the components of her Oaxacan Martini: She shakes two ounces of the Mexican spirit with half an ounce of Mandarin Napoleon, lime juice and a splash of brine from Castelvetrano olives. The directness of smoke and salt are mollified by a refreshing, citrus zest, informing a sensible entry point into the world of cooked agave.

For those that want to tackle it solo, and you owe yourself the favor, San Francisco's Anchor Distilling is the American importer of the Amaras brand. Both the Espadín, and it's slightly stiffer cousin — distilled from the Agave Cupreata plant — are readily available on liquor shelves across town where they retail for around $55-$60 a bottle. Sip, savor, and repeat. It's enough to convince you that they've had it backwards the whole time: Scotch, it turns out, is the mezcal of whisky. 


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About The Author

Brad Japhe

Brad Japhe

Bio:
I enjoy my whiskey neat, my beer hoppy, and my meat medium rare. I have been covering craft spirits, suds, and gourmet cuisine for a decade, with work published from New York, across Montana, and up and down the Pacific Coast.

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