Maxim’s first SOTW of 2023 falls within one of our favorite overall categories: mezcal. And why not start with the grandfather of American mezcal appreciation, Ron Cooper, and his beloved Del Maguey label.
Cooper is widely respected as the man who introduced not just America but most of the world to a spirit that is 100% indigenous to Mexico—an objective he’s toiled toward for more than a quarter of a century.
Cooper’s Vino de Mezcal collection looks to highlight specific terroir-driven mezcals, influenced by its local soils, climates and distilling traditions. They’re all crafted in small batches with unique variables and therefore likely never to be exactly reproduced again.
This Single Village expression highlights the pueblo of San Pablo Ameyaltepec, the Tobala agave specifically and the artistry of mezcalero Aurelio Gonzalez Tobon who crafted this particular mezcal.
Del Maguey “San Pablo Ameyaltepec” Single Village Mezcal boasts a surprisingly creamy texture for such a powerful spirit (all of Del Maguey’s Single Village mezcals are distilled to proof). Although its 47% ABV is not particularly powerful in the unproofed mezcal world.
The 100% Tobala tepache (mash) lends the final spirit vibrant floral notes highlighted by lilac and a richness in tropical fruit like lychee, pineapple and papaya. Incredibly smooth and only slightly smoked, Del Maguey’s San Pablo Ameyaltepec Single Village makes a hell of a mezcal for both novices and wizened aficionados alike. $120