In Cocktails Drinks Entertaining Food and Drink Mens Issues Mens lifestyle Mezcal Pelotón De La Muerte Mezcal Summer Drinks

Aimed To Please: Pelotón De La Muerte and the Mezcales De Leyenda Mezcal Family

If asked, you can say a lot of things about New York City.  Some of them may be nice, some of them can be negative and then you could stay appropriately neutral.  However, my guess is that you won't be that neutral when asked what your favorite this or that, here or there is.  Your niceties will surely be linked to why one should check out this eatery and what to order there whereas your negatives will most likely dictate why one must avoid this bar on that street at this time of night.  It's true that the locals know where to go and what to enjoy and imbibe and thusly avoid and ignore completely.  Kismet happens when a sweet piece of 'here' collides with a sweet piece of 'there' at a wonderful location and propels you into an experience that you'll be likely to recount, nicely of course.

Much to my delight, I had such an experience earlier this week that brought together three phenoms of craft, artistry and culture.  Tucked above Freeman's Restaurant on Freeman's Alley in the Lower East Side is Banzarbar, a quaint little 8 month-old speakeasy-style bar & small plate eatery that features uniquely cultivated cocktails from celebrated master mixologist Eryn Reece.  I arrived at Banzarbar for an intimate tasting experience and introduction to Pelotón De La Muerte Mezcal Artesanal.  
                               Danny Mena                                  Eryn Reece

Produced by Mezcales De Leyenda, what makes Pelotón De La Muerte Mezcal special is its inclusion into a tenured family of mezcal producers that aim to produce this Mexican-birthed spirit in respectful, time-honored and authentic ways.  To do this one must know craft, procedure, tradition and the land that Mezcales De Leyenda with its over ten years of production and partnering with local producers has sought out to showcase and preserve this diverse spirit.  The producers under Leyenda follow the guidelines for growing, harvesting, roasting, milling, fermentation and distillation that were established for authentic mezcal yet what makes this spirit extraordinary are the dozens of varieties of agave found throughout the nine states of Mexico.  This creates quite complex and distinct flavor profiles for these artisanal mezcals that can differ not just from one agave type to another but also by the elevations at which they are grown.  

My barstool at Banzarbar was a launchpad into the noble complexities of Leyenda mezcals that started with a passionate recounting of mezcal, journeys and history from Danny Mena, the revered NY-based Mexican chef, restauranteur and partner in the Mezcales De Leyenda distillery.  Mena gave us a walk through five different mezcals offered by Leyenda with the first being the amazing Pelotón De La Muerte-Mezcal Joven Artesanal.  This award-winning smoky, clean and semi-dry mezcal is great to sip and even replace tequila in cocktails for a more grown, sexier drink.  The label of Pelotón De La Muerte, which means Brigade of Death, was the flag used by the insurgents during the Mexican Revolution in honor of the founding father of Mexican independence, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla.  Then came Montana-Mezcales Unicos, a bold soothing sipper with vibrant cleansing verdant notes followed by San Luis Potosi-Mezcales De Leyenda, a flavorful mezcal with slight peppery notes with a clean almost sweet finish.  Don Anatascio-Grandes Leyenda and Guerrero-Mezcales De Leyenda both showcase how the distillery offers the complexities of one type of agave in two different mezcals.  Don Anatascio is herbal and crisp with a preparation and fermentation process of a lower-elevation agave that gives it a faint and interesting cheese-like aromatic.  Then although that aromatic is present with Guerrero now there's a fuller profile with orange, briny, herbal and smoky notes with a smooth finish to this higher-elevation Sierra-Madre mountain range sourced agave.

Mena then handed us over into the hands of mixologist Reece, who just three months ago crafted the world's first ever signature mezcal cocktail as recognized by the Mezcal Cocktail Mission Cocktail Competition.  Her winning cocktail which features Pelotón De La Muerte is the "Nighthawk", a deliciously simple and smartly combined trio of just three ingredients.  Check out the recipe below:


2 ounces           Pelotón De La Muerte Mezcal
3/4 ounce          Sweet Vermouth 
1/4 ounce         Coffee Liqueur
Garnish with an orange rind.

This drink is just superb.  The clean yet smoky mezcal works perfectly with the toasty coffee flavor which then stands out due to the sweetness of the vermouth.  The bitter and citrus bump of the orange balances nicely with the bitter & sugary infusion of the coffee.  It made for such a sexy and distinguished cocktail.

An intro into a wonderful catalogue of mezcals and insightful dialogue in the form of conversation and cocktails gave this New Yorker some great perspective for the next time I'm queried to suggest, reflect on and celebrate Gotham City.  Go with the advice of the ones who know and make your evening even better with the sweet satisfaction that is mezcal.  Pelotón De La Muerte Mezcal is available now at select wine and spirit retailers in New York City like Astor Wines.  For more information check out the Mezcales  De Leyenda website here and as always, please remember to drink responsibly.

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