Agave fiesta: Tequila & Mezcal Fest returns

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A celebration of Mexico is bringing together tequila and mezcal as well as sotol, raicilla and bacanora

Tequila & Mezcal Fest is returning this month for a fourth year, celebrating agave spirits and all things Mexican. Taking place at the Old Truman Brewery in London on October 7 and 8, it brings together brands both large and small under one roof, alongside tastings and masterclasses plus Mexican food, live entertainment, exhibitions and bars serving up cocktails – a fitting finale to this year’s London Cocktail Week.

It offers a chance to learn about the rich history of Mexican agave spirits, meet the producers and master distillers and learn about Mexico’s “sip and savour” culture and how to appreciate tequila and mezcal as well as the lesser-known styles of sotol, raicilla and bacanora.

Highlights include Francisco Alcaraz, Patrón’s master distiller, and Antonio Rodriguez, Patrón’s production director, hosting an exclusive tasting and seminar on preserving tradition in tequila culture. Another seminar will look at the current state of the tequila industry, led by Fernando Cano Treviño, the Europe representative for tequila’s regulatory body, ‎Consejo Regulador del Tequila.

Brand ambassadors at the festival will include Patrón’s Karine Tillard, Casamigos tequila’s Sam Plummer, Cuervo tequila’s Oliver Pergl, Olmeca Altos’s Megs Miller, Marca Negra and Meteoro mezcals’ Will Hawes, Bruxo Mezcal’s Anne-Sophie Vacher, and Gabriela Moncada with Tapatio and Don Fulano tequilas, Ilegal mezcal and La Venenosa raicilla.

Other tequilas at the show will include newcomer Nyla Organic tequila as well as established favourites Altos, Fortaleza, Arette and Herradura, while Amores, San Cosme and Leyenda will be among the other mezcals. As well as La Venenosa, Balam raicilla will be available, along with sotols from Balam and Flor del Desierto and bacanoras from Balam, Cielo Rojo and Pascola.

Patrón is bringing the Perfectionist’s Garden speakeasy bar, which will be hidden away, with international bartenders shaking up cocktails including Andrea Melis from the Blue Bar at The Berkeley hotel in London who was a finalist in the Patrón Perfectionists cocktail competition this year.

Fresh tacos will be served up by London’s finest taco restaurants such as Temper Soho, Café Pacifico and Barrio. With its accreditation by the Mexican Tourism Board, trade promoter Pro Mexico and the Mexican Embassy, the festival is also a celebration of the country, featuring cultural attractions such as Aztec ceremonies, folkloric dancers, contemporary artists and DJs.

The show’s founder, Eduardo Gómez, says: “Tequila & Mezcal Fest is the best opportunity of the year to meet master distillers, brand managers, brand owners and brand ambassadors. If you are an agave lover this is a not-to-be-missed opportunity to learn all about Mexico’s greatest gift to the world.”

The currency of the festival is its own “pesos”, which can be bought on the door. Tickets are £20 for a half-day session but members of the trade can enjoy an exclusive £5 discount with the code “Sip don’t shoot”.

A percentage of ticket sales will be donated to help the sufferers of the recent earthquake in Mexico. “Our thoughts are with everyone affected by the earthquake in Mexico,” Eduardo says. “Tequila & Mezcal Fest will contribute with a percentage of all ticket sales through our website to both The Cruz Roja Mexicana and TOPOSMX to support the relief efforts on the ground. So far the national and international support has been great but it will take weeks or months for Mexico and those affected to recover from this disaster. We need to keep helping. Thanks to everyone in our community who’s doing their part to help people to recover.”

The show will be in The Boiler House at the Old Truman Brewery at 152 Brick Lane, London E1 6RU. Saturday has two sessions from 12.30 to 4.30pm and from 5.30pm to 9.30pm while Sunday has one session from 1pm to 7pm. For tickets, visit www.tequilafest.co.uk.

tequila & mezcal fest crowd

An earlier version of this preview appeared in the September 2017 print edition of Bar magazine.

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