I Moved To Oaxaca

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

For a lot of people, mezcal is pretty much synonomous with blackouts and bad hangovers. Or is that tequila? But Mexico is trying to give it some respectibility, and finally got an appellation for mezcal, which means for it to be called mezcal it has to be made in Oaxaca and must be 100-percent agave. But for all the aged mezcals in their fancy bottles there are an equal number of mezcals bottled in recycled, usually hand-painted bottles -- or mezcal sold by guys carrying it around in plastic gasoline cans.

So yesterday, while waiting for Osvelia, Greg starts chatting with Roberto, one of the artists with stuff in Osvelia's shop. They decide to walk over to Ceviarem and wait for her there. And while they're sitting on the curb and chatting, a guy with a blue plastic gas can walks up and asks if they want to buy some mezcal. G and Roberto show just enough interest that the guy gives them a taste using the plastic cap on the gas can. Roberto says, It's pretty good, but I don't have a container. The guy looks around and picks up a discarded water bottle but says, It's dirty, then spots another one that meets his cleanliness standards. He fills it with mezcal and tells Roberto, This much, 30 pesos. Well, says Roberto, I only have 15 pesos. The guy says, This much, 15 pesos. Roberto buys the mezcal and the guy wanders off.


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