Here’s How Mezcal Finds You

Adam LernerMezcal mogul Ron Cooper sources his small-batch, high-end hooch from remote villages in Mexico. The job takes him over some pretty interesting terrain. On one adventure, the founder of Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal is steering his jeep along some back roads in Oaxaca when he and his crew rumbles into a lush canyon – “with the most beautiful wild agaves, growing straight out of vertical walls,” he recalls.

All of sudden, there are eight Indians with rifles, right in front of us. And these two guys [in the Jeep] scream. I go, ‘Namaste. Take it easy, take it easy…’

The first thing I do, I roll down the window and I say in Spanish, ‘Hey, what’s the name of that agave growing up there?’ And this Indian walks up to me and goes, ‘You like agaves?’ I go, ‘Yeah, I like  mezcal.’ I always have a clay cup on the center console of my Jeep, so I hold it up and I ask him, ‘Have you ever heard of Rio Minas?’ And he goes, “I’m the maker of mezcal in Rio Minas.” And he mumbles to his buddies in their Mixtecan tongue and one guy shakes a water bottle, brings it up, opens the bottle and pours me a sip of his incredible elixir.

“That’s the perfect embodiment of You don’t find mezcal, mezcal finds you.’”*

*Excerpted from an earlier interview no longer available online @stationtostation

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