Featured Producers Series: Jaime Munoz of Los Nahuales
Los Nahuales has been available to the U.S. market since the 1990s, and for years it was one of the only mezcals available in this country aside from Del Maguey. With hype for new mezcals on the market, this clean and classic mezcal made from espadin agave is often overlooked.
Jaime and Gustavo Muñoz started before the mezcal rush, in a time where mezcal was viewed by most as the workingman’s drink. They opened a restaurant first, and purchased a Oaxacan artisanal distillery after. To the average eye, the twins’ path to mezcal was backwards. Yet since purchasing the Los Danzantes (Los Nahuales in the United States) distillery in 1996, they’ve paved the road for mezcal to enter the global market in a sustainable manner.
The brothers and business partners have always been interested in the tradition and roots of their heritage, and have founded several restaurants with an intention to unite indigenous flavors and fine dining. Thus it became clear why pairing mezcal with their restaurants (most notably Los Danzantes) became a necessity – it was another way of integrating indigenous and ancient ways into their restaurant. “We’re not interested in being the biggest or the richest,” Jaime states, “We want to be the most influential.”
The Danzantes distillery in Oaxaca’s Santiago Matatlán has evolved by ownership observing the demands of the agave spirit. “We need to be conscious of what our effects are,” insists Hector Vasquez, long time company member and current exporter, “we are not owners of the land.” As a result, the company uses gas for distillation instead of wood, and sources all their agaves. They consider the demand for their product and produce only what is necessary. Their consideration for maintaining the artisanal methods of the past creates a platform for others to follow in the sustainability of agave spirits (a plant that can take up to 40 years to mature).
Since creating the Danzantes/Nahuales brand in 1996, they’ve introduced new brands to the market: Alipús (all from espadin agave and made by 5 different families), and Mezcalero. Join us at Comal for tastes of this classic mezcal!