Fresh Summer Cocktail: Spicy Katrina


Warm summer days call for lazy days in the shade, or at the beach, light food, and a fresh summer cocktail. Our Capella Ixtapa mixologist Miguel understands this.  He has made me fall in love with all tequila cocktails, especially margaritas in any flavor, and recently introduced me to cocktails with mezcal, tequila’s smoky brother.  Needless to say, these have become some of my new favorites!  At our recent culinary event Sabor y Vino, our friends at a local Mezcaleria La Katrina have created a special drink, Spicy Katrina.  Many of you have asked for its recipe on our Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter channels, and I am very pleased I can share it with you today!

Spicy Katrina Mezcal Cocktail

1.5 oz Mezcal Katrina Blanco
1.5 oz Grapefruit juice
¼ chopped Jalapeño
¾ oz natural syrup

Macerate Jalapeño pepper with grapefruit juice.
Mix it in a shaker with mezcal and syrup.
Serve it on the rocks in an old fashion glass.

I hope you enjoy this fresh summer cocktail as much as I do!  And please don’t hesitate to let me know what other Capella Ixtapa recipes you’d like to learn.  I am always happy to share!  Salud!

The Legend of Mayahuel Goddess, and the Mayahuel Martini Recipe

During the Month of Agave at Capella Ixtapa in July, I had the pleasure of learning a lot about Mexican spirits, and also tasting some of the best tequilas and mezcals.  While I like to sip them straight, I also enjoy the delicious new cocktails our Mixologist Miguel prepared for the event.  Miguel shared with me a recipe for a godly martini, but before I share with you, I need to tell you a legend about mezcal and Mayahuel, the ancient Mexican goddess of maguey, a plant from which they make mezcal, tequila and pulque.

Mayahuel-goddessAccording to the legend, when the earth first began there was a goddess in the heavens named Tzintzimitl.  Tzintzimitl was an evil goddess who devoured light, plunging the earth into darkness.  She had the earth in darkness and forced the natives to do human sacrifices in order to give them a little light.

Quetzalcoatl, the God of Redemption, got tired of her evil reign.  He believed in honor, so he flew up into the sky in search of the evil goddess, Tzintzimitl.  Instead of finding her, he found her lovely granddaughter Mayahuel, the goddess of fertility.  Quetzalcoatl fell in love with the granddaughter, and instead of killing the evil goddess, he rescued Mayahuel, brought her back to earth and married her.  After their marriage, Mayahuel became a beautiful Aztec Goddess.

Mayahuel’s evil grandmother, Tzintzimitl, was angered by this, and was determined to find them, and kill them.  Because there was nowhere else to hide Quetzalcoatl and Mayahuel turned into trees, one beside the other, so that when there was wind their leaves could caress one another.

Tzintzimitl, however, was relentless in her pursuit.  Eventually the couple was found, and Mayahuel was killed in a big fight.  Sad Quetzalcoatl flew to the sky and killed the evil goddess, and brought back the light to Earth.  He buried the remains of his lover, and every night he would go her grave and cry.  The other gods saw this and thought they should do something to comfort him.  At the burial site the first agave plant was born, and it’s sweet nectar, aguamiel, was believed to be the blood of the goddess.  The gods gave the plant some hallucinogenic properties to comfort the soul of Quetzalcoatl.  When Quetzalcoatl consumed the elixir from the plant, it gave him great peace and comfort.  From that point forward, the nectar from the agave plant became a ritual beverage and a ceremonial offering to the Gods and all Holy beings.


Mayahuel Martini

1 ½ oz. Mezcal
½  oz. Curaçao Azul liquor
¼ oz. Chartreuse  yellow
¼ oz. Lychee liquor
1 oz. Lemon juice
¼ oz. Agave nectar

Pour mezcal, Curaçao, Chartreuse, lychee liquor, lemon juice and agave nectar in a mixing glass. Add ice and shake vigorously. Serve the content in a martini cup with a sugar rim (you can also use Splenda).  Garnish with one basil leave.


Mezcal Secrets with Mezcal Expert Miguel Angel Quiroz

This month at Capella Ixtapa we are celebrating a very traditional Mexican plant – agave.  Throughout the Month of Agave we are having agave related activities; we are hosting mezcal and tequila experts, who share their secrets about these two popular spirits, we offer tequila and mezcal tastings, margarita making classes, tequila and mezcal pairing dinners, exhibitions, and more.  Sommelier and mezcal expert Miguel Angel Quiroz from Ixtapa Zihuatanejo was kind enough to take a couple of minutes after his guest appearance at our events last week, and we chatted about agave and mezcal.


Miguel Angel, can you give us a short history about mezcal?  

Mezcal is a prehistoric drink, produced from cooking and fermentation of agave.  Its origins are in the American continent, our ancestors were fermenting the drink, but it wasn’t until the Spanish colonies arrived that we learned the distillation technique brought from Spain.

How many varieties of mezcal exist? And what is its relation with tequila?

There is three types of mezcal, white or young, reposado and añejo (like in tequila).  Mezcal and tequila have a lot in common and at the same time very little in common.  Both are obtained from the agave, but from different types;  tequila is produced from one single kind of agave (tequilana Weber or agave azul), while mezcal can use more than 20 different kinds of agave except for azul or tequilana Weber, which is exclusive for the creation of tequila.  Both are harvested in a similar way, they are cooked, fermented and distilled.   Today, due to its international popularity, tequila has become more industrialized, while mezcal is still artisanal in its produtcion.  The cooking of agave for tequila is done in steel ovens and the cooking for mezcal is done underground in clay ovens with mezquite wood logs.

How would you define a good mezcal?

A good mezcal can be identified just by looking at it: shake the bottle to check for the formation of bubbles, or “pearls”; the finer these are the better the quality, and if they last longer it also means it’s a high quality mezcal.  On the palette a good mezcal should be balanced, elegantly smoked, and with an interesting spectrum of smells.  I recommend you to taste it with small sips (we call them kisses) and find the different aromas and flavors that it offers.

Capella Ixtapa Sommelier Lucian Mocanu and Mezcal Expert Miguel Angel Quiroz at our Month of Agave Festival

Capella Ixtapa Sommelier Lucian Mocanu and Mezcal Expert Miguel Angel Quiroz at our Month of Agave Festival

What is the story behind the Mezcal worm?

The worm was frequently used in the first days of Mezcal mostly to give it an identity of its own and to generate expectation among consumers, today less and less mezcals use the worm, partly because the spirit is already perfectly recognizable by the consumers.  The myth that if mezcal doesn’t have a worm than it isn’t mezcal is completely false.

Can you tell us some other myths and rituals of Mezcal?

There are two most common myths about mezcal, but both are false; If it doesn’t have a worm it’s not a good mezcal; and If you eat the worm you won’t get drunk.
One of my favorite rituals is savoring the mezcal: Drink it by kissing it, little by little, with thirds of orange and worm salt.

What are the most traditional and what are the new trends in enjoying Mezcal?

The most traditional way to drink it is to have the entire glass in one sip.  But as I mentioned, these days it is suggested (and I recommend that as well) to enjoy mezcal little by little and savor it, try to find all its flavors and aromas, with the thirds of orange or even with bitter chocolate.  If you want to pair it with food, try it with typical Mexican snacks – they go along perfectly!

In your personal opinion which region in Mexico produces the best mezcal?

I think the best mezcal for each person depends on their tastes, but without a doubt Oaxaca is today the largest and most important producer of great mezcal in Mexico.  Personally I love the ones from Oaxaca and Guerrero.

Which are your favorites?

I like Mezcal Katrina, which is a mezcal from Guerrero and it’s created with 3 different agaves, it is an intense, elegant and delicious blend.  From Oaxaca I like Mezcal Amigos Reposado with 9 years of aging in glass containers.  This is a reposado with a very crystalline look, a strong smoke and very interesting overall.  As a digestive I would recommend you to try Mezcal Amigos Añejo, aged 3 years in cherry barrels with delicious notes of fresh red fruits.

These sound amazing, I can’t wait to try them! For the end, can you tell me are all mezcales done in an artisan way?

Yes, until today all mezcals are created in an artisan way – and I hope it stays that way [smile].

Thank you very much Miguel Angel!

It is my pleasure!

Los Secretos del Mezcal con Miguel Angel Quiroz, Experto en Mezcal

Este mes en Capella Ixtapa celebramos a una de las plantas más tradicionales en México, el agave.  Durante el Mes del Agave tenemos muchas actividades relacionadas con esta planta;  seremos anfitriones de expertos tanto de tequila como de mezcal, los cuales compartirán con nosotros sus conocimientos acerca de estas dos bebidas, ofreceremos catas de tequila y mezcal, clases de preparación de margaritas, cenas maridadas con tequila y mezcal, exposiciones y mucho más.  Miguel Ángel Quiroz Sommelier y experto en mezcal de Ixtapa Zihuatanejo tuvo la gentileza de tomarse unos minutos después de su plática en nuestros eventos de la semana pasada, y platicamos un poco sobre el agave y el mezcal.

Miguel Angel, ¿puedes darnos una breve introducción a la historia del mezcal? 

El Mezcal es una bebida Prehispánica, producida de cocinar y fermentar el agave. Su origen es claramente en el continente Americano, donde nuestros atepasados fermentaban la bebida, pero no fue hasta la colonización española que se aprendió el proceso de destilación traído desde España.

¿Cuántas variedades de Mezcal existen?  y  ¿Cuál es su relación con el Tequila?

Hay 3 tipos de mezcal, blanco o joven, reposado y el añejo (como en los tequilas).  El Mezcal y el Tequila tienen mucho en común pero al mismo tiempo comparten pocas cosas.  Los dos se obtienen del agave, pero de diferentes tipos de este; el Tequila se produce de un solo tipo de agave (el Tequilana Weber o Agave Azul), el cual es exclusivo para la preparación de Tequila, mientras que el Mezcal puede utilizar hasta 20 tipos diferentes de agave para su preparación (Menos el Agave Tequilana Weber).  Los dos se cosechan de manera similar, se cocinan, fermentan y destilan.  El día de hoy, debido a su popularidad internacional, el Tequila se realiza de forma más industrial, mientras que el mezcal sigue obteniéndose mediante una producción 100% artesanal.  La preparación del agave para tequila se realiza en hornos de acero y el de agave para mezcal se realiza en hornos de barro y mezquite subterráneos.

Cómo definiría usted un buen mezcal?

Se puede identificar un buen mezcal a la simple vista:  agita la botella y busca la formación de burbujas, o su “perlado”, mientras más finas sean estas mayor la calidad del mezcal, así también si estas tienen una larga duración.  En el paladar un buen mezcal debe ser balanceado, elegantemente ahumado, y con un interesante rango de aromas.  Recomiendo lo saborees con pequeños sorbos (o “besos” como se les llama comúnmente) y descubre los diferentes aromas y sabores que ofrece.


El Sommelier de Capella Ixtapa Lucian Mocanu y el experto en Mezcal Miguel Angel Quiroz en nuestro Festival del Mes del Agave

¿Cuál es la historia detrás del gusano del Mezcal?

El gusano fue utilizado frecuentemente en los primeros días del Mezcal principalmente para dotarlo de una identidad propia, y llamar la atención entre sus consumidores, hoy día cada vez menos mezcales utilizan el gusano, en parte por que la bebida es perfectamente reconocible en estos tiempos.  El mito que dice que si no tiene gusano no es mezcal es completamente falso.

¿Nos puedes decir otros mitos y ritos del Mezcal?

Hay dos mitos recurrentes sobre el mezcal, sin embargo ambos falsos, primero, aquel sobre que si no tiene gusano no es mezcal, y el segundo es que si te comes el gusano no te emborrachas.  
Por otro lado mi ritual favorito ligado al mezcal es: Beberlo mediante besos (pequeños sorbos), poco a poco, con tercios de naranja y sal de gusano.

¿Cuales son las formas más tradicionales y las nuevas tendencias para disfrutar del Mezcal?

La forma más tradicional para beberlo es tomarse todo el “caballito” de un trago.  Pero como mencione, hoy día se aconseja (y yo también se los recomiendo) disfrutar el mezcal poco a poco, saborearlo, buscar sus aromas y sabores, con unos tercios de naranja o incluso con chocolate amargo.  Si lo quieres madirar con comida pruébalo con antojitos mexicanos, ¡no hay mejor complemento!

En tu opinion personal,  ¿Que región de México produce el mejor Mezcal?

Yo creo que el mejor Mezcal para cada persona depende mucho de sus gustos, pero sin duda Oaxaca es hoy día uno de los más grandes e importantes productores de mezcal en México.  Personalmente me gustan los mezcales de Oaxaca y Guerrero.

Cuales son tus favoritos?

Me gusta el mezcal Katrina, es un mezcal de Guerrero y se hace de tres diferentes agaves, es una mezcla intensa, elegante y deliciosa.  De Oaxaca me gusta el mezcal Amigos Reposado con 9 años de añejamiento en contenedores de vidrio.  Es un reposado con una vista muy cristalina, un ahumado fuerte y muy interesante en general.  Como digestivo les podría recomendar que prueben el Mezcal Amigos Añejo, añejado 3 años en barriles de cerezo con deliciosas notas de frutos rojos.

¡Suenan muy bien, no puedo esperar a probarlos!  Para terminar, me puedes decir si  ¿todos los mezcales están hechos de forma artesanal?

Si, hasta el día de hoy, todos los mezcles son creados de una forma artesanal, y espero que siga siendo así (sonríe).

¡Muchas gracias Miguel Angel!

De nada, es un placer!