The Spirits of Mexico Brings Tequila and Mezcal to Austin

Chefs create culinary pairings for agave-based spirits competition

The Spirits of Mexico competition is coming to Austin this year for a one-night Tequila and Mezcal tasting adventure. Although no passport is needed, chances are you may be transported to Mexico through the smooth agave-based spirits.

Katelyn Hudson, a media representative for Spirits of Mexico, says the events are designed to educate and entertain. With a focus on the rich distilling history of Mexico, organizers knew food had to be incorporated into the evening, so the chefs were challenged to create dishes inspired by agave-based spirits. “We want to show how Tequila and Mezcal can be complemented by traditional and nontraditional food pairings,” Hudson says.

The blue agave plant, exclusively used to create Tequila, may look like a stranded sea urchin on land, but the spines of the giant succulent are more than just a protective exterior – they are a key ingredient in making the spirit. Where Mezcal and Tequila differ is in their agave bases. While Tequila is made from blue agave, Mezcal can be made from any agave plant native to Mexico.

The competition originally started in San Diego, Calif., back in 2002 as only a tasting event. Now each competing spirit is evaluated in six categories: aroma, finish, flavor, value, probability of re-purchasing, and probability of recommendation. While the judging has taken place remotely – by a panel of 13 judges from the International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) – the winner will be revealed at Fair Market. To celebrate the newly crowned champ, guests can enjoy their tastings with culinary pairings curated by award-winning local chefs and food trucks, plus yard games and live music.

Hudson says, “We chose to move the event to Austin because of its unique food and drink culture, and we couldn’t imagine a more welcoming and fun community to join us in celebrating the Spirits of Mexico.”

Featured chefs:

Sarah Heard – Foreign & Domestic

Clinton Kendall – East Side King

Nathan Lemley – Foreign & Domestic

Ben Runkle – Salt & Time

Evan LeRoy – LeRoy & Lewis

Kevin Taylor – ATX Cocina

Nicolas Yanes – Juniper

Featured mixologists:

Ryan P. Nolen – Pitchfork Pretty

Shaun Meglen – Péché

Steven Robbins – Half Step

For tickets and more info see

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