This week, we’re pleased to announce that we’ll be doing a mezcal pairing dinner with our Shaw neighbors, The Passenger! In this post, we’re going to list and describe each of the mezcals that we will feature so you can get your mouth watering early!

A few months back, we put out a piece discussing the relation between mezcal and tequila. If you’d like to have a look at it for reference, here’s a link.

While, technically, tequila is a type of mezcal, the term mezcal generally refers to agave based spirits not made in Jalisco using agaves other than blue Weber. Much like grapes, different types of agave have distinct flavors, leading to spirits with very different characteristics. For this reason, we’ve picked a different agave expression for each of the mezcals in the dinner.

Mayalen Machetazo - paired with ipián de quelites (wild greens in pumpkin sauce)

Machetazo hails from Papalote, in the Guerrero region of Mexico. The producer uses only wild cupreata agave that grows on top of the region’s mountains. The spirits shows a medium smokiness along with herbal and vegetal flavors, such as fennel, dill, radish peel and crushed aloe. You’ll also find spicy bitter chocolate notes on the long, fruit-driven finish.

Gracias a Dios Tepextate: Zucchini flower taco

Oscar Hernández Santiago is the fourth generation mezcalero responsible for this lighter, more elegant mezcal. Made using tepextate, Gracias a Dios offers jalapeno spice, herbal notes, green onion and refreshing minerality in conjunction with fresh citrus and a waft of sweet smoke reminiscent of barbecue. Oscar double-distilled this spirit and bottled it without further barrel aging to keep it as clean and focused as possible.

Rey Campero Tobalá: Wild mushroom in mole amarillo

The name “Rey Campero” means “King of the Countryside.” The name gives you some hints about the spirit. First, that the mezcalero behind it is considered world-class. Romulo Sanchez Parada learned how to make mezcal from his father, and has carried on the tradition proudly by becoming one of the most renowned mezcaleros of the region. Second, that the tobalá agave used here is only the best, growing wild in the countryside of Candelaria Yegolé, Oaxaca. The mezcal greets you with sweet aromas of honey and caramel. On the palate, the texture has a slightly oily quality, similar to olive oil. Often, tobalá can be a bit sweet, but this one is more savory, with subtle notes of potatoes, turnips, and beets.

Craneo Organic Espadín: Duck breast with mole negro

Espadín is the most common agave variety used to make mezcal in Oaxaca. Oaxaca, in turn, makes the vast majority of the mezcal available in the US. Therefore, most of the time when you’ve come across mezcal, you’ve had an Espadín from Oaxaca. This one hails from Santiago Matatlán. If you’re looking for intense smokiness, look elsewhere. This mezcal focuses more on the texture and flavors that Espadín offers than the smokiness that comes from the roasting process.

Varan Coffee Infused Mezcal: Arroz con leche with caramel and honey candied chickpeas

We’re gonna venture to guess that you never expected to have coffee infused mezcal. But actually, it works exceptionally well. The spirit is first distilled two times, and then infused with coffee, at which point it goes through a third distillation, resulting in an ultra smooth spirit with chocolate and caramel notes layered with the tropical and smoky notes of the original mezcal.

Info for the event:

The dinner starts at 6pm on Sunday, December 10th. If you would like to make a reservation, please call The Passenger at (202) 853-3588, or email them at The meal costs $60 pre tax and tip. Come learn more about mezcal, bring a friend or two, and make some new ones, too!


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