The Tasting Panel magazine

November 2018

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6  /  the tasting panel  /  november 2018 nearby pueblo when he was recruited by founder Richard Betts, MS, nearly a decade ago. A commitment to this spirit of craftsmanship also endures: "It's an artisanal mezcal, so it's handcrafted. It's not an industrial process and there's a lot of subtlety that goes into the production," Fagan says. "What we're trying to do is create a consistency within that uniqueness to extract the highest amount of flavor." Mythbusting Mezcal The public perception of mezcal's distinctive flavor profile may have been the initial hurdle for the category in terms of widespread adoption. Could this singular Oaxacan spirit translate in the concrete jungles surrounding America's fashionable cocktail bars? Simone Goldberg, Bar Manager of The Standard–East Village in Manhattan, recalls her own initial resistance to what she perceived as an overbearingly smoky tequila. She says she soon suc- cumbed to mezcal's charms, however, as the spirit revealed more integrity and typicity than she had originally anticipated. "When I started developing the drinks program for The Standard, I realized how well mezcal and the versatility of it really meshed in cocktails," Goldberg explains. "It's kind of new to the American market, so I just assumed that all mezcal was smoky, but then I started tasting more and more and realized how different they all are. It's always cool to have a product that is similar to wine in that it's based on terroir and where it's from." The Standard now employs Sombra in its seasonal cocktails as both an introduction to the category and an example of their interest in handcrafted spirits. "Sombra's not that punch in your face or that smoke that's going to destroy your palate," Goldberg says. After the agave is harvested, it's roasted over an open fire with wood sourced from certified-sustainable forests.

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