Master Mezcaliers arrive in Melbourne
The first ever Agave Sommeliers will be working in Australia, with Mamasita in Melbourne offering a Mezcalier service from 25 May.
According to manager Nick Peters – the first person outside of North America to complete the Master Mezcalier course in Oaxaca, Mexico – Mamasita will soon have a Mezcalier on hand to answer questions about all things agave and walk patrons through the venue’s 150-plus agave distillates list.
“We’ll be the first ones in Australia – and I think it might be anywhere on earth – to be offering this service,” he says. “I feel passionately about agave distillates, as do the new Mezcaliers and members of staff, and we want to be able to spend time passing on what we know to customers.”
The first batch of Mezcaliers to pass the courses stringent requirements were put through their paces with extensive sit-down tests, questionnaires, tastings – all during weeks of studying all things mezcal, tequila and agave for weeks.
According to Nick his first round of Mezcaliers are dedicated to their craft and looking forward to guiding their customers through the world of agave spirits: Luis Herrera – a lovely, passionate, knowledgeable Mexican; Mario Cardone – a super friendly Colombian; Simon Hodgson – a spirits-driven Australian guy; and Oliver Russell – a “reformed” nightclub bartender.
The in-house training is structured around the training Peters received specific to mezcal while he studied in Oaxaca, although he has added tequila, raicilla, pulque, and sotol to his Mezcalier training.
“There is a certified Mezcalier program that started in 2013, which I completed last year,” he says. “I’ve organised to run certified Mezcalier courses in Melbourne/Australia – although I’m still waiting for paperwork.”
While the course to become a certified Mexcalier is currently still in the works – the current uncertified training model is only available to in-house staff – Peters hopes to expand it to the general public very soon.
The existence of the program marks a sharp change in attitude toward agave based spirits in Australia, with drinkers keen to learn more about the extensive history, varietals and potential of all agave spirits, not just tequila.