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The Mezcal Rush

Explorations in Agave Country

List Price: $26.00

March 21, 2017 | Hardcover | 5.5 x 8.25, 295 Pages | ISBN 9781619028449
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“A rich, inclusive portrait of one of the world’s great drinks.” —Kirkus Reviews

In pursuit of the story behind a beguiling drink, Granville Greene embarks on a journey through remote Mexican highlands to learn about the history, cultures, and traditions surrounding mezcal. In recent years the smoky flavored agave distillate has become a craft cocktail darling, rivaling even its better-known cousin tequila, and it can sell for over $100 a bottle in the U.S.

But unlike most high-end spirits, mezcals are typically produced by and for subsistence farming communities, where distillers have been swept up in a hot new trend in which they have very little voice. Greene visits indigenous villages in Oaxaca and Guerrero states, meeting maestros mezcaleros who create their signature small-batch drinks using local plants and artisanal production methods honed through generations of mezcal-making families. Here, the spirit is never mixed into cocktails and is instead consumed puro on special occasions, a liquid language that celebrates community identity along with the diverse characters of numerous agave species.

As Greene details the sights, smells, and intoxicating flavors of Mexico, he turns his eye to the broader context of impoverished villages in a changing economic and political landscape. He explores the gold-rush style surge of micro-distilled mezcals as luxury exports, and the consequent overharvesting that threatens the diversity of wild agaves, as he finds the oldest distilled spirit in the Americas at a crossroads.

GRANVILLE GREENE is a graduate of The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University. He has written for Outside, New York Times, and many other publications. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Praise

“In this debut work of nonfiction, Greene takes his time to narrate the tale, employing journalistic instincts and a keen talent for capturing people’s stories . . . A rich, inclusive portrait of one of the world’s great drinks.” —Kirkus Reviews 

“A unique and fascinating journey following the mezcal trail from remote Mexican villages to trendy bars abroad,  from indigenous fiestas to mixology events crammed with modish tipplers.  Greene’s lively and skillful blend of  travelogue and social commentary charts the sometimes troubled links  between these very different worlds” —Gideon Rachman, chief foreign affairs commentator, The Financial Times

“Impressively informative, exceptionally well written, organized and presented, The Mezcal Rush is an original and inherently fascinating read from beginning to end.” ­―Wisconsin Bookwatch

“An artful combination of travel narrative and research—I felt as if I was sipping mezcal through Mexico as I read it.” —Baylor Chapman, author of The Plant Recipe Book

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