Spirit Cruises 2019 Leaderboard

From Oaxaca With Love: Exploring Dock Street Spirits' Vicio Mezcal

We’ve got a new product here in Philadelphia by way of Oaxaca, Mexico from the folks at Dock Street Spirits, founded by Rosemarie Certo, Marilyn Candelero and Regina Pfohl. Mezcal is an emerging, premium category that’s slowly but surely catching up to its cousin, tequila. Drinkers’ relationship with tequila has evolved over the past couple years due to bar programs and brand ambassadors working diligently to move tequila away from the spirit that you pound shots of, towards one that’s enjoyed in cocktails made with fresh juices, like The Paloma (tequila, grapefruit, lime) or Margaritas that aren’t made with store bought sour mix; while also offering high quality aged tequilas for sipping. Now the challenge is to educate consumers about Mezcal and how to drink it.
 
Some quick notes on Mezcal:
  • Mezcal has a protection of Appellation of Origin status, meaning it can only be produced in seven areas exclusively in Mexico: Oaxaca, Guanajuato, Tamaulipas, Durango, San Luis Potosi, Guerrero and Zacatecas. Having appellation status has helped mezcal gain the visibility of tequila in global markets, and has given the product a turn around in perception of its quality. In Mexico it was mostly seen as the working man’s drink, made and consumed in some of the poorest regions of the country.
  • Mezcal, unlike tequila, can be made from many different varieties of agave or maguey plants including espadin, tobala, barril and cupreata; and is roasted in palenques (rock-lined pits) for three to five days to achieve its signature smokey flavor.
  • Vicio Mezcal (along with 90% of other mezcal) is made with espadin, one of the highest quality agave plants that can be used to create this beverage.
  • It is typically consumed straight, and Vicio Mezcal in particular was designed to be drunk straight, as it has a velvety mouthfeel with a smooth flavor profile that makes it an ideal intro to your journey into learning about and drinking mezcal.
  • Mezcals are the ultimate in small-batch, family made, singe-village spirits that showcase the terroir of the particular region in which they’re made; the production methods have been passed down from one generation to the next, so different families have their own signature recipes which don’t lend towards mass production. Hence one of the reasons why the price point for this product tends to be on the higher end.
  • As a product, it’s showcased a rapid growth in terms of sales and quality perception, per this case study, “In 2006, only 23% of consumers in Mexico perceived mezcal to be a high quality alcoholic beverage. By 2008, this number rose to 41%, and in September 2009, mezcal was sold in one of the most exclusive stores in Mexico, for the first time.” Overall, mezcal has shown growth in sales, while tequila has slowed down in the global markets.
  • Mezcal is marketed in four categories: young, rested (aged 4 months to 1 year), aged (1 year aged in wooden barrels) and semisweet (mezcal that’s been softened with the addition of herbs or fruits).
Dock Street Spirits decided to pursue this category due to it’s place as an emerging product through which they could differentiate themselves in the highly competitive spirits industry. They have seeded the product to a select few bars and restaurants in Philadelphia, including The Dandelion, Standard Tap, A. Bar and The Olde Bar, among others. The mezcal section of most bars is limited to two to four bottles, with regular brands including Del Maguey and Illegal. So as a category, the competition isn’t as overwhelming compared to, say, the 20 or so bottle line up found in the brown spirits categories.
 
The process of creating it started some four years ago when the team traveled to Mexico. They explored different distilleries and met with a few different families that have made this product for generations. They taste tested their way around Southern Mexico and eventually fell in love with one particular farm/family with whom they’ve entrusted specific instructions on the flavor profile that they were looking for. They’ve got an engineer down there that oversees quality control and makes sure the batches achieve the particular flavor profile they’ve designated. They’ve also got their own special ingredient that they added to the traditional recipe while still maintaining the integrity of the product.

The design of the bottle’s label was hand-drawn by the son of one of the mezcaleros that distills Vicio. It depicts Axolotl, a Mexican salamander. It’s a type of walking fish that’s native to Oaxaca. They were looking for a symbol that would describe the effects of mezcal. Something that draws you inward. Something about a transformation and growth. The drawing depicts the large salamander with a smaller one inside himself to showcase knowing one’s self.

Vicio Mezcal is 48% ABV with a floral nose, smooth mouthfeel and smoky finish that’s best enjoyed neat in a rocks glass or a tumbler. However if you’d like to mix it, here are a few recipes to try.
Dock Street’s Mezcal Mule
1 1/2 oz. Vicio Mezcal
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
2 oz. Dock Street Summer in Berlin (berliner weisse) or High Quality Ginger Beer
1 oz. simple syrup
 
Serve in a copper mug or highball over ice.
 
Smoke the Paloma
2 oz. Vicio Mezcal
1 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
1 1/2 oz. seltzer
Grapefruit or lime wedge
 
Place ice cubes in a highball glass. Add mezcal, grapefruit and lime juice, then top with seltzer.
 
Vicio Negroni
1 oz. Vicio Mezcal
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. sweet vermouth
 
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and stir with ice. Strain into rocks glass with one large ice cube. Garnish with lemon peel.
 
Vicio Mezcal is currently available in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and Dock Street is looking to expand to New York, Boston and eventually California.
 
Order online at FineWineAndGoodSpirits.com, and find a list of local retailers here.
 
Top photo (Rosemarie Certo, Regina Pfohl, Marilyn Candelero, Joe Dodds) by Neal Santos, Other photos by Dock Street Spirits
 

 


Tags: Cocktails, Spirits, Tequila
Recent Articles
spacer

Feedback

How are we doing? Tell us what you like or don't like and how we can improve. We would love to hear your thoughts!

*Name:
*E-mail:
*Suggestions:
 
A New, High-End Blend of Jack Daniel's Whiskey is Now Available in the United States

A New, High-End Blend of Jack Daniel's Whiskey is Now Available in the United States

A new, high-end blend of Jack Daniel's whiskey, known as Jack Daniel's No. 27 Gold, which was previously only ...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Apr 15, 2019
Best Bars for Outdoor Drinking in Philadelphia, 2019

Best Bars for Outdoor Drinking in Philadelphia, 2019

Whether it's to enjoy the first warm breezes of spring or the unexpected sunshine of a crisp day in fall, Philadelphia is full of great places to drin...read more ›

by Drink Philly Apr 11, 2019
Rouge Reopens with New Look & Cocktail Menu Created by Hop Sing Laundromat

Rouge Reopens with New Look & Cocktail Menu Created by Hop Sing Laundromat

Rouge, the Philadelphia mainstay located right off of Rittenhouse Square, has undergone a complete renovation ...read more ›

by Drink Philly Apr 10, 2019
SPONSORED
The Best Cocktail Bars in Philadelphia

The Best Cocktail Bars in Philadelphia

Here it is - the definitive list of Philadelphia's best cocktail bars....read more ›

by Drink Philly Dec 13, 2017
The StarChefs Rising Star Awards Will Honor the 2019 Standouts of Philadelphia's Culinary Scene & Bar Industry With a Gala, April 16

The StarChefs Rising Star Awards Will Honor the 2019 Standouts of Philadelphia's Culinary Scene & Bar Industry With a Gala, April 16

On Tuesday, April 16, StarChefs, the premier industry magazine, will host a gala and food tasting to celebrate...read more ›

by Drink Philly Apr 10, 2019
Rittenhouse's a.bar Launches New Drink Menu with Affordable Food

Rittenhouse's a.bar Launches New Drink Menu with Affordable Food

Rittenhouse's a.bar, which shares part of its space with its sister restaurant a.kitchen, is creating a new identity with a brand new menu of small pl...read more ›

by Drink Philly Apr 10, 2019
Travel Back in Time at The Bourse's 80s Themed Karaoke Night, April 12

Travel Back in Time at The Bourse's 80s Themed Karaoke Night, April 12

Old City's upscale food hall, The Bourse, will travel back to the 1980s on Friday, April 12 from 5 PM - 8 PM w...read more ›

by Drink Philly Apr 10, 2019
Philadelphia Distilling is Hosting an Enchanted Pop-Up Bar, The Betsy, to Celebrate Bluecoat Elderflower Gin, April 11-14

Philadelphia Distilling is Hosting an Enchanted Pop-Up Bar, The Betsy, to Celebrate Bluecoat Elderflower Gin, April 11-14

Philadelphia Distilling is transforming their fourth floor space into a secret garden from Thursday, April 11 ...read more ›

by Drink Philly Apr 5, 2019
Where to Host a Private Event in Philadelphia

Where to Host a Private Event in Philadelphia

Whether it's for the holidays or you have a special birthday coming up, Philadelphia has some amazing options when it comes to event spaces. ...read more ›

by Drink Philly Nov 26, 2018
Learn About Tequila & Get Certified at This Exclusive Patron Class, April 16

Learn About Tequila & Get Certified at This Exclusive Patron Class, April 16

Patron Tequila is hosting a class on tequila on Tuesday, April 16 starting at 9 AM....read more ›

by Drink Philly Apr 5, 2019
SPONSORED
View all Articles

Sign up to get weekly drinking news, bar reviews, events and more sent directly to your inbox!

Close