The family of Angeles-Mendoza Oksacan Mezqual produced in Santa Catarina Minas

1 Introduction

2. Historical background and material distinction in the traditional production of Accakan Mezkal

3. How angel still works

4. The Angel-Mendoza family standing in the face of adversity

5. Angeles-Mendoza Santa Catarina Minas Mezcal today and in the future

1 Introduction

The inconsistency is striking, between the baking dish in a primitive oven on the ground above the wood, and then crushed it using modern machinery, and finally distillation using pre-Hispanic tools and tools – pottery, reedwood and rivers. Some of Mezkal's producers in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, for example in Santa Catarina Minas and Sola de Vega, have already mixed with others.

But Felix Angeles Arelanes is one of the death dynasty of the Palenqueros who continues to make mezcal with almost any hint of modernity, preserving the greatest possible traditions. The end result, according to Angeles, makes it worthwhile. Indeed, the residents of Santa Catarina Minas, 41, are used to working with his colleague Palenqueiro in Minas that combines the usual means of production with the innovation of the industrial revolution. Not Angeles.

When Angelis and his wife Eras Mendoza Lopez separated and began their own palace in the city about 17 years ago, he returned to what he had learned from his father and grandfather:

"I could have saved up to buy a mash machine, or start using a horse or mule to pull the limestone wheel over Maggie to crush it, but this is what I learned, and this is how I will continue, as I hope my children and grandchildren will continue."

Usually, with the help of one to four of his nine children, he crushes his snorkel in a long, narrow basin of stone by hand using a four-foot-heavy, solid wood club made of logs or a branch in the hills outside Minas state. “To fill a bowl of 1,200 liters of pine with a baked solution, we start mashing around 4 am and end at about 2 pm,” he explains.

2. Historical background and material distinction in the traditional production of Accakan Mezkal

Angeles does not indicate that his distant ancestors made mezcal this way, only that his children now represent at least the fourth generation of palenqueros who continue to practice the family. Indeed, while some scholars, based on academic investigations including chemical waste analysis, indicate that indigenous peoples of Mexico began to distill before the conquest, the most accepted version of mezcal production is that it was the Spaniards who began distillation in Mexico in The middle of the sixteenth century, with the indigenous people following suit.

Horse species disappeared from the landscape in the Western Hemisphere about 9,000 years ago, and were not reintroduced until the arrival of the Spaniards. Consequently, there is no doubt that the most common process in towns and villages outside Oaxaca and along the secondary highways, a monster of the burden of crushing the baked agave, fermentation with a pincero and then distillation using copper vessels and tubes covered in brick (or stone), is a "modern" invention.

It is suggested that the use of crockery (ollas), reed river (carriso) and hard hammer (marros) is a local adaptation after the conquest, and may have continued until now; this in some cases does not represent a family tradition of centuries old, but represents a means of production Recently acquired. For example, families who live in Pueblo Viejo in the department of Mytika in Oaxaca began to produce mekkale using this method, in some cases less than a decade ago, which enabled them to become new entrepreneurs with very modest initial cash costs.

3. How angel still works

Even with regard to others who make mezcal using crockery and other locally produced tools in commerce, there are more subtle and deeper distinctions in this process. An analogy can be drawn between the fixed formation of Oaxacan copper, and the composition used in the state of Michoacán; both use metallic vessels, but in Michoacán, at least in some columns, the compound is composed of one unit, while in Oaxaca it represents two units. It comes to where and where the steam is condensed from the fermented mash in alcohol. The use of traditional copper still in Oaxaca is often explained, and it was distinguished from its counterpart in Michoacan.

Elngeles palenque consists of three basic images that work independently. It is distinct from some other "ollas de barro" panels that use one water cooling system.

A container of clay is placed in a container of stone and clay, with an opening for firewood. The second removable case is placed on top of it, opening from both ends. It has a small opening near the bottom, where a piece of karisu is inserted from the outside. Inside, a hollow piece of tree branch is placed across the bowl, at an angle pointing downward so that the narrow end leads to the hole, on the other side of which is the carriso. Above the top bowl there is a metal bowl with a hole near the top, attached to a piece of rubber hose on the outside.

When heated with firewood, the fermented liquid that is resting in the covered upper layer, evaporates, and ascends through the upper vessel. A cold water source constantly fills the metal container, which is "consumed" water that escapes from the rubber hose, then is recycled or used for irrigation. As the steam rises, it reaches the bottom of the cooling bowl, causing condensation. Then the liquid falls on the hollowed piece of wood, comes out of clay along the length of carisu, then falls in a bowl. The liquid is distilled a second time, producing a double distilled mezcal.

4. The Angel-Mendoza family standing in the face of adversity

The story of Angeles-Mendoza is comforting and pity: the first because it demonstrates the will to overcome adversity and pride in consistently maintaining the production of the mezcal group that was formulated by a unique ritual custom, resulting in subtle tones and nuances that are not often encountered; the latter Because of the bedding with death the family endured.

Engels became infected with cholera 20 years ago after consuming yogurt (Likuadu) prepared on the Okotlan Market, made of milk, bananas, and eggs, which he would have understood later was rancid. He began to learn how to make meskal at the age of seven, so at this point in his life, he was Maestro Palenqueiro. After a miracle recovery, he continued to produce mezcal with his father. Palenque was hiring a fellow producer, a common practice for many aghaf farmers until they had the resources to build their own facility. Payment under this arrangement is either cash or a percentage of collected mezcal.

"In those days, there was a lot of maguey marteño around, in addition to espadín cultivated, in addition to other types unheard of for most who drank mezcal." Continued:

"We used to mix everything we planted or bought, and sold everything at a specific price; but now, people pay a premium over mezcal made with other magueyes, especially rare items, so today I usually don't mix items. For example, regular customers will pay me more than 50% off mezcal made with pure marteño, instead of espadín. "

The mezcal market is not what it was a decade ago. About ten years ago, in an effort to better serve his growing family, Angels moved to Huntington Beach, California, where he worked on installing underground sprinkler systems. A year later, he was forced to return to Oaxaca after learning that his father was unable to work as a result of that bull had been hit in the leg. After a brief attempt to lead the American dream, with a reputation for mezcal and corresponding prices on the rise, Engels realized that his call was to continue to make mezcal; he stayed in Minas.

Life was progressing positively after Angelus' previous experience of dying. The family kept plots of land planted with corn, beans and pumpkin. It also preserved cactus fields. But in time, the size of the pine trees cut from the fields became smaller and smaller, until it was no longer economically viable to grow a family's cactus. "We then turned to corn in those fields, and in some cases we mixed with other crops, instead of continuing in the cactus," Angeles describes, then explains:

"We've been doing this this way for a few years now, and we're buying everything we have. Soon we hope we'll be able to grow on our soil as before; but you know, it takes several years for the maguey to mature so it can be used to produce mezcal, so This is a long-term plan. "

Expectations do not always turn out as expected. In December 2010, Engels' disease was diagnosed as a subdural hematoma, spent a month in hospital and more time at home recovering from bed, unable to work. His wife, Erais, was already working hard to raise her extended family and children between the ages of two and nineteen. The workload that already consists of eating lunch for the children still in school, helping with planted crops including producing greenhouse tomatoes, and washing clothes on a daily basis, has suddenly become more difficult. But the family endured, gathered, and at the right time the lost land was formed.

5. Angeles-Mendoza Santa Catarina Minas Mezcal today and in the future

Four sons of Velez Angel Arielanes and Eras Mendoza Lopez still go to school on a full-time basis, the youngest of whom is a primary school start-up group in 2013. It helps older adults in the palace need, and they gradually learn to trade. One is attending COBAO, which is a mix between public and private school systems for bright high school students with perceived academic potential. He has his eyes on a career in business administration.

One of the out-of-school children works in the greenhouse (a constant source of income for the family), and the other is in the fields including for other children in and around Minas State. But they all make themselves available to help with the various labor-intensive stages of mezcal production. Some will undoubtedly continue to imitate the family.

"It looks like there are more and more witches being bought in Oaxaca and transported to Jalisco, I can imagine Tequila produced," laments Angelis. "So every year I have to go farther and farther from Minas to buy."

Partially dictated by necessity and other market demand based on the recently rising mezcal star in the domestic market (Engels is not a member of COMERCAM, the federal mezcal regulator, and therefore cannot export), Engels buys what he can get, such as (some local names) arroqueño Marteño, espadin, bilia (tobalá), blanco, carne, and canastudo.

Many mezcal producers, marketers and retailers grumble when it comes to the idea of ​​barrel aging, and persistently insist that it leads to cheating and hiding the unique tones, flavors and nose of mezcales that are produced using different shackles grown in different climatic conditions and employing different production methods. Not Angeles:

“I prefer my blanco, especially since they are very different from mezcal of the copper product. But I enjoy the reposado, añejo or gusano archives once in a while. For me it is basically keeping supplies to my customers. I empty a barrel, then over a few months or Next year, I have nothing for the next customer who wants the old mezcal. That way at least I always have something. "

Angeles can save money to buy barrels, even additional pine tanks for brewing and other equipment needed to expand operations, be it to produce an old mezkal or simply increase Blanco's sales volume. But he is satisfied with the current work available to him and the level of production. It causes necessity not to exist, and whatever free time he manages to save him within a week, he cherishes it and does not want to lose it as a result of owning a bigger and more profitable one.

He is at a point in life where he never had to leave home to roam around. Buyers come from restaurants, hotels and mezcalerias in Oaxaca, as well as from Mexico City and other states across the country to buy mezcal for him. The quantities range from a few to a thousand liters at one time. Sometimes he does not have enough stock of mezcal to satisfy the demand. But Angeles takes everything in stride. After all, he has nine children and a wife who keep the family and family, and she already has two new decades in life.

Alvin Starkman, m.