Home' Bars and Clubs : BAC MarchApril 2015 Contents eaten at one point in our lives in the streets. You're
going to find some rich nice looking girls at 4-5am
eating a taco next to a bus driver and nobody cares."
Throw in the surrealist portrait that graces the
walls and menus of Mr Moustache, and you have a
touch of André Breton, friend of Mexican artists Frida
Kahlo and Diego Rivera and the father of surrealism,
who vividly diarised the Mexico of the 1920s that
captured his imagination. And for Saravia, his bar
captures the essence of what it actually means to
drink and eat in Mexico.
"Mr Moustache is sort of like the sarcasm 'oh every
Mexican has a moustache or a sombrero', we've just
tried to make it a little more classy and very Mexican."
Creating an agave spirit experience that doesn't
rely on the pop culture version of Mexico has been
exceptionally successful at Mr Moustache, establishing
a precedent that can be applied to other venues that
don't necessarily seek to reinvent themselves as a
cantina bar. However, Nick Reid, of Tequila Tromba,
cautions that a lot more work needs to be done on
educating drinkers around why agave based spirits
are so special and the many different ways to drink
them. Central to this is replacing the "lick, sip, suck"
ritual with traditional Mexican drinking experiences --
including the Bandera, as well as serving tequila for
sipping alongside lime and salt.
"It's great to allow people to follow a similar ritual
while showcasing the flavours of tequila instead of
covering them up," he says.
Gomez-Haro concurs, emphasising that bars
should change a customer's experience of mezcal
by serving it in a whisky glass, which immediately
changes the way a customer interacts with the spirit
and how they approach drinking mezcal in general. To
incentivise this approach, he has worked with Bruxo
on branded traditional glasses for serving mezcal.
Likewise, in Mexico, food and alcohol go hand in
hand -- but it doesn't all have to be Tex Mex, there
are plenty of options from Mexico's 10,000 years
of history that are being enthusiastically embraced
"We also tried to put an emphasis in our food and
maintaining [what is] a strictly traditional Mexican
cuisine," says Saravia. "Even though we present
the food in a more contemporary way it is strictly
traditional food -- we don't play with recipes, we don't
invent. Leon [the executive chef] gets recipes from
books that are from the 16th century and those are
the sorts of recipes we are working with."
However, agave flavours present an opportunity
for a more unique offering, even in venues that are
not specifically Latin American themed. Gomez-Haro
names Sefa Kitchen in Bondi, which has worked a
mezcal cocktail into their menu that incorporates
Middle Eastern kitchen ingredients and spices.
Saravia believes that Australian drinkers are clued
in and interested in the families and stories that are
behind the brands he has on shelf.
"Every bottle of mezcal from every producer
supports a family," he says. "That means they can
sustain themselves economically, send their kids to
university. And they can take care of their plants so
that their sons and their grandsons can keep doing
the same thing."
These histories can be directly leveraged to
engage customers in agave spirits and pique
Deegan says that the Clase Azul bottle is not only
visually appealing, but has an amazing backstory
about the indigenous community that makes the
bottles and the matching hand-painted snifters.
The Jose Cuervo brand has over 200 years of
family history behind it and Gakuru encourages
bartenders to use it to articulate the diverse wonders
of the tequila category and steer customers in the
"The focus is on education," he says. "Only by
understanding and being able to articulate the tequila
story is one able to answer to a customer's needs."
Similarly, Casa Mexico focuses on the stories of
the families that produce its mezcals -- with over
300 combined years of struggle, triumph and legacy
the stories of the producers make for an incredibly
unique selling point and a great conversation starter
for engaging with customers. It's a similar story at
"Getting drinkers to the top end of both the
tequila and mezcal categories is all about the story,"
says Reid. "Take them through the people, time and
artisanal techniques used to make some of the higher
end products." b&c
OTHER AGAVE SPIRITS
Those bars that are serious about agave can branch out from the obvious into lesser-known spirits:
Racilla -- a spirit that is only made from agave from the state of Jalisco, by around 70 producers in total.
A challenging and complex spirit that is high in acidity, only around 700 litres are produced in the six
months of the year that production is carried out, is considered by some to be a type of mezcal that is
simply created outside the appellation.
Sotol -- not necessarily made with agave, this is the traditional spirit used at sacred sites. Very limited
availability in Australia, it has a slightly lower alcohol level and is almost gin-like with lots of botanical
flavours. According to Saravia, this will be the next boom spirit in the agave category.
American Bourbon CYRUS NOBLE
is now available in Australia
through Cerbaco Distribution.
Cyrus Noble was established
in 1871, and today is still
distilled in small batches from
a proprietary mashbill recipe
with each bottle reflecting the
spirit and character of a hand
made, intimate and unrushed
Aged for 5 years
in new American
white oak Barrel
Made of 75% Corn,
17% Rye and 8%
Cyrus noble is
rich and velvety
with notes of
For more information contact Cerbaco Distribution
on 0396468022 or cerbaco.com.au
Exclusively distributed by
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