Tiffin Project

Agave Spirits Featured at Tales of the Cocktail Vancouver

by Eric Lorenz on February 1, 2012

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Tales of the Cocktail on Tour Vancouver is right around the corner, taking place February 12-15.  At this second annual installment of the satellite event of New Orleans’ own Tales of the Cocktail, tequila and mezcal will figure prominently.  Charlotte VoiseyIván Saldaña, and your very own agave correspondent will be presenting an entertaining and educating seminar entitled Tequila Evolved on Tuesday February 14.

Tequila Evolved: How Tequila Evolved, How Tequila Cocktails have Evolved and How Tequila will Continue to Evolve

Agave genius Iván Saldaña Oyarzábal is flying in from Mexico to join Charlotte Voisey and Eric Lorenz for an invigorating discussion on the past, the cocktails and the future of tequila.

^ The traditional way of extracting juice from the Agave as seen here at Fidencio Mezcal’s distillery

Ever wondered if the Mesoamericans discovered, fermented and even distilled agave beverages before the Spanish arrived in 1519?  If so, how long ago? And how has fermentation been intricately interwoven with the rise of civilization itself?  These questions will be explored in fascinating dialogue with Eric Lorenz citing provocative new research by archaeologists from the University of British Columbia.

Charlotte will be on hand for cocktail relief with silver, reposado and añejo tequilas.

^ Early distillation in Mexico: Spanish colonial-era copper alembic still in the foreground, early clay pot still used by indigenous Zapotec peoples at present (distillate from this type of still is known as "mezcal de olla") at left. Credit: Eric Lorenz.

For anyone who attended Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans this past summer and who saw and heard Iván speak at the Before Man, the Plant seminar, you’ll recall that his knowledge of agave botany and plant physiology is unmatched.  Charlotte’s strengths (two of many actually…) are in telling the (his)story of a classic cocktail while tantalizing the tastebuds – she’ll be doing that with the margarita and more – thanks to Milagro Tequila.  And your correspondent?  Well, if you read any of my Ancient Origins of Agave Spirits series over at Examiner.com, you’ll have some idea where (and when) we’ll be going.  But you’ll have to turn up in person to hear about our new and future research – in which we’ll literally dig up the smoking guns showing early origins of agave beverage fermentation and ritual use of these beverages and analyze them using state-of-the-art molecular biology techniques.

^ Charlotte Voisey

What if I didn’t sign up in time and the Tequila Evolved seminar is full, you ask?  Well, you can still come on out to the BC Bar Crawl any time between February 12-15 and enjoy agave spirits featured at these fine establishments:

  • Boneta
    12 Water Street Courtyard
    “Callejón de la Sangre” with Scorpion Mezcal created by Ben De Champlain

And your correspondent has also learned, by leaving no stone unturned and through plenty of late-night “research” of course, that imbibers may also get a taste of mezcal if they head over to Blue Water Café or Revel Room for their cocktails featuring Cointreau and Licor 43, respectively.  But you didn’t hear that from me.

Finally, master distillers German Gonzalez of T1 Tequila Uno and Douglas French of Scorpion Mezcal are threatening that they may even be on hand for the week.  Either way, cocktail lovers and agave lovers alike will have plenty to rejoice about at Tales of the Cocktail Vancouver.

Not enough for you because you’re such an extreme agave enthusiast, you say?  Well, you’re in luck – you can enroll in the first-time-in-Canada Mezcalier Level 1 course taking place on February 16 at Latitude on Main.  This is the one and only Mexican government-certified course that you can take to be able to call yourself a “mezcalier” – and it’s only the beginning (1 of 4).  See www.mezcalier.com for costs and details.  Of course, the most important detail is that you’ll be tasting at least 20 mezcals you’ve never tasted before.

And speaking of mezcal – did I mention that British Columbia’s mezcal selection just increased by about 900%?  More on that later.

~ Eric Lorenz

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