Machetazo’s Handcrafted Mezcal Retains Mexican Originality
Founder Rosendo Zambrano’s Machetazo Mezcal is produced in a wood-fired hearthstone oven, blending smokiness and natural earthy flavours for great taste.By Joseph Low
Your background is in chemical engineering. How were you first introduced to mezcal?
Mezcal is something I have always been familiar with. It was ever-present in my rural town upbringing. I grew up in Guerrero, which is one of the states in Mexico that produces mezcal. My memories of mezcal are associated with social gatherings of friends and family. Mezcal makes a regular appearance during popular town celebrations such as El Santo Patrón (the patron saint of the town), día de Los Muertos, and in rural funeral family reunions. When loved ones pass on, we traditionally mourn the body for one to two days and serve mezcal during the velorio candle lighting ceremony.
I have always been fascinated with mezcal. It is the perfect combination of nature and ancestral processes that have been around for hundreds of years. My initial goal was to create a quality alcoholic authentically Mexican beverage that I could enjoy at home with friends and family.
So, how long ago did Mezcal Machetazo start, and where is it produced?
I started the Mezcal business in 2009. Our brands are handcrafted and produced in the states of Guerrero, Oaxaca, and San Luis Potosí in small batch distilleries.
Tell us about the legend uniting Mayahuel, Goddess of Mezcal, and the mighty warrior named Machetazo?
This is a legend inspired by Mexican folklore. Warrior Machetazo fell in love with Goddess Mayahuel. She had given him a taste of mezcal from the agave plant. He had lost her and in pursuit of trying to feel reunited, he decided to make mezcal for himself to bring back memories of her. He used his machete to cut the leaves of the agave and when he drank, he could see visions of her.
What is the difference between tequila and mezcal?
Tequila is made in Jalisco from one specific agave — it is the blue agave. Mezcal is made out of 20+ different agaves. This process is also different. Mezcal is made in a wood-fired hearthstone oven. There is also a difference in taste. Tequila has one taste while mezcal has a variety of tastes; this is why I can never get bored of mezcal.
In comparison to other spirits, mezcal is best when served fresh and joven (young) so you can taste the agave itself and not the flavour of wood in a barrel after it has been aged.
Mezcal is a product that’s difficult to scale given the long growth cycle of its agave. Why do you choose mezcal?
That is true, the right agave plant must be aged for about seven to nine years, making mezcal’s production cycle quite unique in comparison to other spirits. I choose mezcal because of its Mexican authenticity. I am excited to see consumer trends moving away from what is mass-produced and artificially flavoured to fully embracing what is all-natural, chemical free, and organically planted. This is what mezcal is all about: being unique!
What is the defining characteristic of mezcal?
In general, Mezcal is fresh and natural with earthy flavours. The flavours depend on which Mexican region it is cultivated from.
Mezcal has a strong smokey flavour that might be a bit “too much” for consumers. Were you concerned about that? How do you recommend people to enjoy Mezcal Machetazo?
Our Mezcal brand is a hand-crafted product; the smokiness depends on the hand of the maestro mezcalero (master mezcal maker). We took smokiness into consideration when thinking through the consumer experience. In the case of Mayalen and Machetazo, we balance out the smokiness with the flavour so that the smokiness doesn’t take over.
Mezcal is rather new across Southeast Asia. Are Singaporeans into trying new cocktails?
Singapore has such a vibrant bar scene. If you need evidence, just look at the list of the best bars in the world. You are likely to find that half of them are in Singapore. People here are open to trying new experiences, cocktails, and flavours. Mezcal fits right in.
What are your favourite cocktails bars in Singapore?
Foxtail is my favourite cocktail bar in Singapore. You will find that Mayalen and Machetazo are served here. Foxtail has the ability to craft the best cocktails according to the customer’s request. They are also known for their margaritas and negronis.
What is your favourite cocktail and how would you change it up with Mezcal?
It is hard to beat a cold Margarita. They are even better with mezcal and a little habanero chili pepper on the side.
If there is one ultimate thing you’d like people to know about Mezcal Machetazo, what would that be?
You have to try the three different mezcals in the Machetazo and Mayalen collection and go through the journey of finding out the difference in flavour on your own. The mezcal collection is formed of Cupreata, Espadín, and Salmiana agaves.
For the LUXUO readers wishing to buy Mezcal Machetazo online, where should they head to?
In Singapore, you can buy directly from our website here.
Moving forward, could a botanical gin made out of agave be your next creation?
This is an interesting idea. By the way, some of the producers in Oaxaca have already started creating this drink with mezcal Espadín and botanical herbals.
On a more generic level, what is the main quality an entrepreneur should always have?
My advice is to have passion for what you do and enjoy it to the fullest. Money comes later if you do it right.
Would you like to name a mentor who is inspiring you in your daily work?
My mentors and driving forces are my friends and family. They give me feedback and advice and I listen to it. They are my purpose in life. I live for them.