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Yay or Nay on “Agave-Influenced” Spirits?

Tequila and mezcal are having a moment—and so, it seems, are other agave spirits.

What to make of agave distilled into vodka or gin or whiskey? We asked Palenque bar manager Tony White. (Psst, he’s not a fan.)

Q: Is this trend a flash in the pan or innovative genius?

A: “At Palenque, we’re proud purveyors of traditional mezcales—the classic agave spirit category which encompasses tequila, mezcal, raicilla, sotol, and bacanora, all of which have been rooted in Mexican culture for centuries. There is an infinite amount of flavor complexity and cultural diversity found within the heritages of mezcal production to keep any curious mind occupied forever. Look, when I’m in a whiskey mood, I want the high-end, old-school stuff. I’m not looking for an experimental mezcal-whiskey mash-up. I think it detracts from each spirit’s essence and I just don’t think it’s necessary. I feel there’s no better purpose or product for those agaves than traditionally made, high-quality mezcal.”

Three bottles of Gracias a Dios Agave Gin. Agave spirits.
Some thank god for agave gin. Others…not so much. /

If you insist on trying out some of these agave spirits, here’s a vetted recipe:

Última Palabra en Oaxaca

1 ounce Gracias a Dios Agave Gin

1 ounce Luxardo maraschino liqueur

1 ounce green Chartreuse 

1 ounce lime juice

Combine all ingredients in a shaker and shake for 10 seconds. Fine strain into a coupe glass. Gently spoon one Luxardo cherry into the glass.

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Peyton Garcia and Jen Mattioni

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