According to ArteAgave.com, “Arte Agave is a unique celebracion of fine agave spirits + arts + entertainment inspired by the richness of latino culture.” I have been to spirit tastings before– some in educational settings, some in dinner pairings, but nothing like this before!
Arte Agave 2017 was held on June 16th in The Bowery Hotel. The venue was a perfect mix of indoor and outdoor space, including several bar areas and a dance floor. But it wasn’t just the beautiful venue that made this event unique. Even though there were many brands of agave spirits represented there, it was not your usual “meet and greet.”
The first things you notice that is different from other tastings is the atmosphere. Latino themed art was present throughout the venue. Photography, sculptures, artwork, and even a painter working on a canvas during the event! Music was playing that influenced everyone that walked in. Guests were getting into the groove and you could tell dancing would soon follow.
Latino food was served at several stations throughout, including small bite that were walked around by waiters and waitresses. The carnitas tacos were perfectly savory, and the elotito style corn brought the flavors without the messy cob (the corn was prepared the same way, but the corn was shaved off the cob and served in small cups–brilliant!) To cool things down, there were margarita flavored popsicles. If this wasn’t enough, there was also grasshoppers. Yes, grasshoppers. Not live ones, but ones prepared for eating, and in three flavors: plain, adobo, and chipotle.
Of course, there was also agave spirits… over 20 stations with more than 100 varieties! Although this seems like overkill, I imagine this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the vast variety of agave spirits. There are over 100 varieties of species of agave, and geographic location of where the agave plant grows can also influence the flavor profile. Add to that various distillation methods and aging techniques, and the number of different spirits increase greatly!
Scorpion Mezcal offered over a dozen different spirits, from mezcal with a real scorpion in the bottle, to single varietal mezcals, to corn whiskey made from yellow, white, and blue corn. Illegal mezcal offered tiki style cocktails alongside their straight spirit. Blue Nectar tequila offered a vertical tasting with a finishing shot paired with a slice of orange dipped in chili flakes. Tanteo tequila brought the heat with their jalapeno infused tequila. Qui tequila tripped me up with their spirit aged more than three and half years American Whiskey barrels– it’s crystal clear but the barrels impart flavors of vanilla reminiscent of bourbon. Del Maguey single village mazcal brought authentic clay cups to serve their full line, adding to the authenticity of the experience.
A favorite and regular in my house, El Buho was there with their newest release. Their table decoration of a pinata was a REAL pinata! During the final hour, it was brought to the dance floor and guests took turns whacking at it until it broke open and rained gifts on the crowd.
The entire celebration was so full of positive energy, when 11 p.m. rolled around, the guests didn’t want to leave. It was a like a party that you hoped never ended. This was truly a “celebracion” of agave, and I’m looking forward to the next Arte Agave.