If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably seen me post about the new DC Culture Explorers Meetup groups. I’ve been wanting to host these events for awhile, and I finally kicked them off at Espita Mezcaleria in Shaw on my birthday eve, March 6.
We explored Oaxaca, Mexico through food, drink and conversation.
Everyone wanted to learn more about Mexico. While one man was inspired to learn the Mayan language from a recent trip to Cancun, another was just curious about the country overall. Someone else just wanted to sip tequila on a beach, and a couple just started tour groups to Mexico City. We were a mixed group, and that made it fun.
Our waiter, Dallas, is actually training to become a mezcal artisan. He’s traveled all over the world, at first to try different rums. When he was hired at Espita and started trying more and more of the mezcal, he was intrigued and started visiting Oaxaca pretty regularly. That sparked his interest in making mezcal for a living.
Mezcal was born in Oaxaca, and families still create the real stuff on farms throughout the region. The mission of Espita Mezcaleria is to help the local Oaxacan artisans shine in the United States. They have the largest selection of mezcal in the U.S., and buy from truly local sellers.
We also learned how different mezcal varieties are created. Smokey mezcal is made in a clay pot. Glass is used for a more distilled spirit. It takes 50 YEARS to make a gallon of mezcal. And each batch has its own flavor, based on the climate it was grown in, as well as the manner of the person who created it. Each one is unique.
And that mentality goes beyond the alcohol.
The restaurant also sources its corn straight from Oaxaca, mixing it with water and lime to make true Zapotec tortillas. Same with the cheese, salsas,…and worms!
Have you been to Oaxaca or tried Oaxacan cuisine in the U.S.?