First of all, Eduardo tells me, whilst tequila might be used extensively in the UK, it is certainly not well understood (or actually, widely liked!). A small number of brands command the market, Jose Cuervo being the largest, and the vast majority of people have only ever experienced tequila as a shot with salt and lime post 2am in some nightclub. Even the trade are far less experienced with it than with better established spirits like gin or vodka. Mezcal (another agave based spirit) is even less known, although is starting to become trendy in some circles. It's time, Eduardo claims, to put the spot light on these two wonderful spirits. There won't be shooter in sight.
The purpose of this event, I'm informed, will be two-fold. To educate and to celebrate; both the 'category' of agave spirits and the individual brands that produce it. There will be 2 convention halls; one for tequila with 14 brands, each including several individual tequilas, and a second one for mezcal with 17 brands. Like other drinks shows, attendees will be given a glass and can potter around the trade stalls, sampling all the wares (hic) and chatting to the producers. The beauty of tequila and mezcal is that for the most part they are truly artisanal products; most are produced in very small batches by small, family operated groups - each has a story.
Alongside the sampling there'll be master classes, seminars, debates and even food pairings led by industry experts where one can learn all about the spirits; how they're produced and how they can be used.
More than celebrating these two spirits alone, Eduardo asserts, these two days are about celebrating Mexico in all its sights, sounds, smells and (of course) tastes. There'll be music, entertainment and some of London's best Mexican food vendors present, offering authentic dishes to supplement all that agave. I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview of the signature dish being offered up by Condesa: a taco of sherry braised pig cheek, so tender and rich in sweet, savoury flavour that I couldn't help but eat two. Just delicious.
Saturday 22nd, 2pm- 8pm
Sunday 23rd, 12-6pm
Ticket link here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/tequila-and-mezcal-fest-2014-tickets-13939839435?discount=foodgoblin