21 Liters

Life doesn’t get much better than today. In fact I am positively beside myself with joy and happiness.

Imagine a bathtub filled with great whisky. Or a similar sized vessel full of any other great liquor of the world. Now prepare to get jealous….

Preface. I met an extraordinary gentleman a couple of weeks ago through my friend and neighbor, Max.

Clemente is a man that reminds me very much of my good friend, Mike who lives in Singapore. Educated. Discerning. Thoughtful. Intelligent. And appreciative of the good things in life like good conversation, friendship,  and the ability to enjoy great food and beverages.

At that time, Clemente invited me for a tour of his ranch which involved passing through Jiquilpan and a Mercado stop to buy ingredients for his menudo.

He was piloting an old GMC pickup and we were doing some serious damage to a bottle of his artisanal mescal throughout the entire voyage. We eventually ended back at his place in town where he prepared some delicious food and where we of course kept sipping at that marvelous distillation of agave.  I might have mentioned in an earlier post that I ended up with a very wonderful euphoric buzz. Not by any means drunk, just a wonderful happy high.

I mentioned in passing to him that I would love to buy a case of his mescal should he ever consider it as a possibility to do that for me. It’s worth mentioning that not under any circumstance do I like to impose or ask for favors but that was some seriously fragrantly delicious, slightly sweet essence of agave in question and maybe to not ask would have been insulting.

So anyway yesterday afternoon I got call from Clemente telling me that he had 21 liters of the stuff ready for me. That’s almost like 2 cases! I would have felt like an idiot to have impugned his generosity by asking for less. And he gave it to me for a ridiculously cheap price that was conditional that I promised not to reveal it to anyone. (Let’s just say that the price per liter was far less expensive than the best commercial tequilas one can buy her locally for a very small sum of money.)

This mescal is organic, blended from 2-3 different species of agave, and is the pure, real deal that you’ll never find anywhere in Mexico unless you are fortunate enough to meet someone like Clemente.

So right now I have sitting down in my shop a giant glass water bottle containing 19 liters of some of the best agave brew available on the planet earth. And two 1 liter bottles of the same stuff in my kitchen cabinet.

And then the day got brighter. Literally. Figuratively.

I took a bottle down to my friend, Pancho’s cantina so that he could have a sip and weigh in with his opinion. He’s a tequila man but he sampled it anyway before agreeing that it was a truly worthy beverage.

He pulled out another bottle of pure local mountain distilled mescal so that we could comparatively sample the qualitative differences between the two.

Our conversation oscillated between fact checking the mescals and a general discussion about Mexico and food and we agreed just what a vastly underappreciated country Mexico is for culture, landscape, and cuisine.

An hour later I walked out of his cantina with something like 16 ounces of a salsa he had made that I will just say is maybe my second favorite salsa of all time. Nine different chilies combined with some garlic, salt, and vinegar that produced one extremely complexly nuanced amalgam of flavors.

I love this place. Mexico continues to exceed my every expectation. I find the people warm and generous and the life experience here is such that every day I gain some further insight into just how incredibly broad and deep this culture is.

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