Bar entrepreneur launches new mezcal brand in UK

QuiQuiRiQuiA bar operator has sourced a craft mezcal, made from 100% agave in Oaxaca, Mexico, and launched it in the UK as QuiQuiRiQui.

Melanie Symonds, who created London’s pop-up mezcaleria QuiQuiRiQui, has come up with two different styles of mezcal which is being introduced this month in partnership with distributor Cask Liquid Marketing.

The first is QuiQuiRiQui Matatlan which is produced in the village of Matatlan by master mezcalero Zosimo Mendez whose family has been producing mezcals for five generations. The lowland climate with its warmer volcanic soil helps to produce more herbaceous, earthy and vegetal mezcals.

Double-distilled in a copper pot, each distillation of QuiQuiRiQui Matatlan produces around 1,000 litres. It showcases all the classic characteristics of a good-quality mezcal, including smoke, spice, black pepper, caramel and toffee apple flavours.

With ABV of 45%, it can be sipped neat or, with a smokiness reminiscent of an Islay malt whisky, it can be used as a base for a twisted Manhattan or an Old Fashioned.

The second is QuiQuiRiQui San Juan Del Rio, made on the banks of the San Juan del Rio river by fourth-generation mezcal producer Don Modesto Hernandez. It is produced in a cooler highland climate on a mineral-rich terrain, known for producing more floral and fruitier mezcals.

Also double-distilled in copper, each production of QuiQuiRiQui San Juan Del Rio produces around 800 litres. This mezcal has fresh floral and flinty notes, with hints of almond and cocoa.

With ABV of 48%, it can be sipped neat or used as a base for a Margarita or a twist on The Last Word.

Both mezcals are made from 100% Espadin agave and take their name from the Spanish for “cock-a-doodle-do”. It shares its name with the mezcal bar that Melanie opened in Hoxton, east London, in October last year. It ran for eight months and she is now looking to bring it back at a new location.

Melanie has worked in the hospitality industry for over 15 years, both front and back of house, managing bars and restaurants and also as a freelance chef. She developed the idea for Quiquiriqui while visiting Mexico in 2011.

Melanie said: “It’s been a labour of love to get these two ready for market but it’s been worth it. I’m really proud of them and I’m excited for everyone to finally have a taste, as I’ve been talking about them for long enough.

“I also want to help educate the market to explore how delicious mezcal can be, in cocktails or drunk neat, and to be able to offer quality at a price that makes them accessible to everyone.”

QuiQuiRiQui mezcals will be distributed around the world by Cask Liquid Marketing which specialises in developing and distributing premium brands such as Ocho tequila.

Mezcal Old Fashioned

35ml QuiQuiRiQui Matatlan

15ml Ocho resposado tequila

1 dash Angostura Bitters

3 dashes Chocolate mole bitters
15ml agave nectar

Stir and strain on ice. Garnish with an orange twist

Mezcal Negroni

25ml QuiQuiRiQui Matatlan
25ml Campari
25ml Punt e Mes

1 dash orange bitters

Stir with ice until well chilled. Serve over ice garnished with an orange twist.

QuiQui Margarita

35ml QuiQuiRiQui San Juan del Rio

10ml Triple sec

10ml Kamm & Sons ginseng spirit
10ml Agave syrup

20ml Fresh lime juice

A pinch of worm salt, or sea salt will do

Shake and pour over ice or blend until smooth. Garnish with a salt rim and lime slice.

The Other Word

25ml QuiQuiRiQui San Juan del Rio
25ml Green Chartreuse

25ml Maraschino liqueur

25ml Lime (or lemon) juice

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled glass, garnish with a maraschino cherry.

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