How this feminine-made mezcal combines Mexican tradition and modernity
Made in remote mountain villages around Mexico, mostly in the southwestern region near Oaxaca, mezcal is made in such a hyper-artisan way that you can almost taste the tradition with every sip. “There is something magical and spiritual about the way mezcal is made, because it is underground,” says Sonya Auvray Vega, founder of Doña Vega Mezcal. The agave used to make mezcal can be wild or farmed, takes a minimum of eight years to mature, and varies in taste and aroma depending on where it is grown. The farm and palenque (mezcal distillery) where Vega sources its brand of agave, La Curva, produces a lightly smoky liqueur with nuances of fruit and white pepper, a little sweeter than its competitors while honoring the traditional mezcal bite.
When Vega first stumbled upon La Curva, a farm run by women and operated by five generations of the Hernández family in Santiago Matatlán, the “mezcal capital of the world”, the goal was not necessarily to find a women-led mezcaleras organization. “I wasn’t looking for him,” she says of her final partnership with Doña Hortensia Hernández Martínez and her two daughters, Lidia Hernández and Nallely Hernández. “But knowing that Hydrangea was the matriarch of her family and that her daughters understood business and deadlines,” they became the obvious choice for a partner.