Spend the day understanding more about mezcal culture, production, and traditions of OaxacaRené Cabrera
SANTIAGO MATATLÁN is a small village that is a one-hour drive from Oaxaca City on Highway 190, just past Mitla. Matatlán has a large sign at the main entrance to the village declaring it the “World Capital of Mezcal”. Here you’ll be able to see the entire process of how mezcal is made from harvesting the agave plant to distillation. There’s a wide variety of producers; some are small family distilleries, others have larger-scale production but they all use traditional techniques (clay pots and copper still). But the true highlight of a visit to Matatlán is the opportunity to sample the wide variety of mezcals including Espadín, Cuishe, Madrecuishe, Tobalá, Tepextate, Coyote, Arroqueño, Jabalí, Mexicano, Pulquero and Pechuga, among others.
Mezcal is a spirit which has been growing in popularity in recent years. The production of mezcal has increased by 600% in the last 10 years. Like Tequila, it is made from the agave plant, but while tequila is made with only one type of agave, the Blue agave or Agave Tequilana, mezcal can be made with 35 different varieties of agave, though the Agave Espadín is the most often used. Since 1994, mezcal has been under the regulation of COMERCAM that determines that agave spirit may only be labeled mezcal if it is 100% agave and made within certain regions of Mexico that comprise 9 different states, but the main mezcal producer is the state of Oaxaca produces 65% of the mezcal in Mexico.
We will meet at Casa de las Bugambilias B&B (See Map), from where we will drive 30 miles southeast on the Pan-American Highway 190 to the municipality of Santiago Matatlán (World Capital of Mezcal) to visit three distilleries to learn about the traditional method to make mezcal. We will not visit commercial distilleries on the way to Mitla where tour companies take their clients. We will visit only family-owned Palenques to see the entire process to make artisanal mezcal and you will have a free tasting of premium mezcals. At the end of the tour, you will have the opportunity to buy bottles of the best mezcals directly from the producer and the mezcal will be certified by COMERCAM. There is no pressure to buy mezcal and all the tastings are free.
During the tour, we will visit some agave plantations to learn about the farmers who cultivate the agaves and then we will visit the home of a family that has been making pulque. Pulque is a milky, slightly foamy and somewhat viscous beverage made by fermenting the fresh sap of the giant agave Pulquero and you will have the opportunity to taste fresh pulque.
At the end of the tour, we will have lunch in a traditional restaurant in Santiago Matatlán to taste the traditional food of that region and we will return to Oaxaca City.
We will meet at Casa de las Bugambilias B&B (See Map). We will establish a meeting point by telephone or e-mail for people that stay outside the city. All tours normally end at the starting point, but this can be changed to another place in downtown Oaxaca if the customer prefers.
8 hours. Weather and traffic conditions might affect the length of the tour.
VW Transporter Mod. 2019 with A/C, liability insurance, purified water and driver.
The service includes transportation, an English-speaking tour guide, soft drinks and a free tasting of the finest mezcals.
Lunch, bottles of mezcal and additional beverages.
We recommend you bring walking shoes, sunblock, a hat, sunglasses, and a camera.
1-2 persons: $100 USD per person
3-5 persons: $75 USD per person
6-9 persons: $50 USD per person