Hometown: Austin, by way of Oaxaca
Filed Under: Two years, three agaves, five expressions, seventeen awards. Un buen comienzo, mis amigos.
Overview: Small batch, 100% organic (USDA certified), 100% agave, twice-distilled mezcales produced in Oaxaca, Mexico by expert mescaleros. Five award-winning varieties to choose from: Two estate farmed Espadíns, one a Reposado (aged); a Madre Cuishe, using wild agave; a premium Tobala (pictured above), also using wild agave, but from an even rarer, higher elevation plant; and a premium Ensamble, which is an extraordinary blend of the Wahaka Espadín, Madre Cuishe, and Tobala
Appreciate: Wahaka's process of making authentic, artisan mezcales. We can't even describe the entire process, because it involves secretos handed down among five family generations of mezcaleros operating out of San Dionisio Ocotepec, Oaxaca--deep in the heart of real Mezcal country, Mexico. But here's what we do know: Wahaka mezcal (which means, "cooked agave") is made using old-school, romantic traditions, starting with agave plants that are at least 10 years mature, and cooking them in an earthen pit for three days. This produces intense smoke, which stays with the distillate in flavor all the way through to your glass. The cooked agave is then crushed in a millstone driven not by an oil-powered machine, but by a horse (or, a donkey, if the horse is cansado), and then distilled in copper alembic stills before bottling. The whole process takes about 25 days, but only 2.5 seconds to appreciate once that Wahaka Mezcal hits your lips
Know: For the uninitiated, Mezcal will taste familiar to tequila drinkers (because Tequila, of course, is also an agave-sourced spirit), but it's clearly distinguished by more complexity, and in particular, a rich smokiness. Enjoyed straight, the mezcal's smoky character may, at first, be too much for some tastes (although it grew quickly on us over here at The Diego Files). If that's the case, take heart: the Wahaka Mezcal website (link below) features more than 50 cocktail recipes that will help you realize the broad possibilities of these unique spirits. We'll take a La Chiflada right now, thank you
Special Comments: Although Wahaka Mezcal is Mexican in origin (as all mezcal, like tequila, is by definition), Wahaka's founders Kenny Flores and Alejandro Santa-Cruz have established their business operations in Austin, Texas. So, The Diego Files gladly claims this as a Texas business, and that's why we gladly feature Wahaka here. As our friend Lyle likes to say (sing): "That's right, you're not from Texas; that's right, you're not from Texas; that's right, you're not from Texas; but Texas wants you anyway." Welcome, Wahaka
Cost: Starting at $30 for the Joven Espadín, and ranging up $80 for the Tobala and Ensamble
See them: Here.