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Basically a love letter to YOLA mezcal...
Agave April! Regional dishes to accompany your cocktails, Kickass women redefining the mezcal industry, Mexico, the queer holiday destination, Mexican chocolate, Cocktail recipes, Playlists and more!
Happy Friday and welcome back to the Drink Seco newsletter! This is the 10th edition of the newsletter, so it's still very much a baby, but thank you all for the great feedback, hopefully, it sends you off into the weekend full of cocktail inspiration, a few chuckles, and some food for thought!
I’m very excited to announce that we are officially in April, which means it’s Agave month! This month I’m hosting two Agave Cocktail Zoom classes!! Part 1 on the 14th of April, 7pm Eastern and Part 2 on the 28th!
In case you haven’t come to a class before, here’s a little idea of what we’ll cover:
I’ll walk you through some agave basics - what's the difference between the three main expressions: Blanco, Reposado + Añejo? How are tequila + mezcal made? etc
We’ll discuss the types of agaves used in mezcal production and how to best use these two spirits in cocktails.
Plus, we'll make two Seco Cocktail agave-based classics to showcase the versatility of tequila + mezcal!
You can sign up below:
Hope you all enjoyed the little virtual trip to Mexico last newsletter, this week I thought I’d follow it up with some sidekicks to mezcal and a nod to the amazing food and culture!
Before we get into it, pop culture-wise, despite having absolutely zero links to the cocktail world (but idk maybe Gwyneth considers her bone broth a fun beverage of sorts), I’ve got to talk about Gwyneth Paltrow’s trial for the ski accident. Spoiler: the Goop Goddess was found Gwynnocent! Anyways, this is a petition to bring back harmless celebrity entertainment and drama.
The prosecutor is truly all of us.
Okay, pop culture intermission over. Let’s get back to the good stuff of cocktails and hospitality.
Traditional bar snacks to accompany your mezcal/tequila cocktail hour
Kickass women redefining the mezcal industry
Mexico, the ultimate queer holiday destination
And in preparation for easter, Mexican chocolate!
If you haven’t already read the last newsletter it’s a great place to start, consider it Part 1 and this newsletter Part 2. Last week I covered all things mezcal and tequila, its history, politics, its reputation, and celebrity tequila brands.
You can click to read it below:
Traditional bar snacks to accompany your mezcal and tequila cocktail hour:
Okay, while I know you were all enjoying the mezcal and tequila cocktails from last week, I’m sure you couldn’t help but feel something was missing to bring your Mexican cocktail hour to fruition. Well, this week I’ve got you covered with some traditional sidekicks to nibble on with your mezcal, the Robin to your tequila Batman.
The term ‘Mexican food’ itself is a misnomer as each of the 7 regions has such unique and different dishes. As we spoke about last week, More than 70% of mezcal is made in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. We’re all used to the Western bar snacks, beer nuts, or maybe some chips, I mean, can’t go wrong right? But also, we could get a little more exciting.
This week I thought I’d share some traditional Mexican companions to your mezcal drinks:
Sal de Gusano
Sal de Guasano:
An iconic finely ground salt from chili, sea salt, and dried agave worm (that feeds on the agave plant). Usually served with an orange slice too. Similar to lime and salt for tequila, try some sal de guasano with mezcal.
Toasted and seasoned grasshoppers! Another icon of Oaxaca it comes in different flavors and is very nutritious!
Okay, yes I made a slight dig at beer nuts before but somehow cacahuetes (Mexican peanuts) seem to transcend that, usually seasoned with garlic, lime, and chili, these bring new life to the ‘beer nut’.
Sliced melon and mango sprinkled with tajín (chili pepper, dehydrated lime, and salt) provide the perfect mix of sweetness with a salty kick.
Anyways, see if you can get your hand on any of these, I promise they’ll pair perfectly with your mezcal drink of choice, and spice up our otherwise rather bland bar snack options!
Kickass women redefining the mezcal industry:
Absolute powerhouse Yolanda (Yola) Jimenez with her business partners Gina Correll Aglietti and Lykke Li are redefining the world of mezcal and cocktails. YOLA Mezcal is a long-established Oaxacan family business, brought forward into the 21st century by Yola Jimenez and her women-run business.
A thriving business, built off empowering and hiring women, from the agave farms in Oaxaca to the international cosmopolitan investors. Far from just an alcohol brand, YOLA does everything from collaborations with female chefs to parties with Mexico City's art crowd and festivals pioneering women in the arts, incorporating activism and fundraising into all her events.
She has also put together a little playlist to accompany your mezcal cocktail-making adventures:
I love Yola’s variation of the ‘Naked and Famous’ cocktail.
Here’s the recipe:
Measure out 3/4 oz of Yola, Aperol, fresh lime juice, and Yellow Chartreuse and add to a metal shaker. Fill with ice, cover, and shake until cold. Strain and there you have it. Chef’s kiss.
Mexico, the ultimate queer holiday destination:
Since the 60s Mexico has been a popular and flourishing queer holiday destination. Mexico is widely regarded as one of the most progressive Latin American nations when it comes to rights, policies, social progress, and inclusion of the LGBTQIA+ community. Legalizing gay marriage in 2010 and as a close neighbor to the States and Canada, rich with beautiful food, beaches, culture, and parties, it is no wonder Mexico became a queer travel hotspot.
I won’t get into all the politics and sad realities that still exist and dictate where and how you travel for queer folk in this newsletter. However, since we’re talking about Mexico and this newsletter is written by a travel-loving lesbian it seems only right to add another reason why it's worth a trip to Mexico (as if the food and cocktails haven’t convinced you already)
Also worth reading, or maybe even checking out ;) is this queer nude beach in Mexico, Zipolite on the coast of Oaxaca. Journalist Jenna Wortham (who is wonderful) wrote this piece in the New York Times about her time there. The opening line had me…
“I heard about the gay beach the way I hear about all the good gay things: Through a lover, an ex-lover, my ex-lover’s new love.”
The queer theorist José Esteban Muñoz defined “straight time” as a mindset obsessed with productivity and reproduction. Queer time then is the slowing down and valuing of the pleasure and the present, reclaiming a better future.
Being in Mexico feels like living on queer time, with siestas, aquamarine beaches, food, and culture that celebrates a wealth of history and whispers secrets in your mouth.
And in preparation for easter, Mexican chocolate!
That’s right! It’s almost Easter! Which let's be honest, really only means one thing… chocolate. Keeping in theme with the rest of the newsletter, I thought I’d shed some light on Mexican chocolate. Mexican chocolate is a paste made from cacao nibs, sugar, and cinnamon. Its texture is very grainy compared to normal baking or milk chocolate and it tastes usually a little more complex. Unsurprisingly, it often features chile flavors and other tasty spicy/herby/interesting little extra som’in som’ins that the rest of the chocolate world only just seems to be catching up with.
It makes for a great hot chocolate, so if you’re up for something to Spice Up Your Life as my five favorite Brits would say, try to find some Mexican chocolate this easter!
I know some of you still might be hung up from Martini March, and since April has only technically just started why not start the transition to Agave April with a Mezcal Martini? Once again thanks to the mezcal goddess herself, Yola. Here’s a fun cocktail to take you into the weekend and beyond!
2 oz. Mezcal
0.5 oz. Dry Vermouth
0.25 oz. White Vermouth
Stir ingredients until cold. Strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with citrus oil and if you’re feeling fancy some rizzo bitters!
That’s all for this week! Thank you for reading and supporting this newsletter.
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Finally, you didn’t think I’d end this newsletter without mentioning the new season of Succession did you? Nothing brings me greater joy than watching the absolute shenangigans of rich, entitled, hilarious, white people with dirty mouths and their pathetic drama in attempt to impress daddy. Hands down the best thing on TV at the moment.
Okay, signing off for the week!