Restaurant jobs started out as a way for me to make money while I figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up. With time, I ventured into the beverage side of the industry and it forever changed the trajectory of my career. I studied spirits, craft cocktail recipes, and spent time in multiple bars around Austin dialing in my technique while working for a number of progressive establishments.
My love of agave spirits was forever solidified but in the interim, I turned to wine and fell down the rabbit hole. Eventually, I progressed to running the beverage program at Qui, and then at a nationally-renowned wine bar in Houston, having had the opportunity to work under multiple Master Sommeliers.
This jaunt has brought me into an intense study of multiple regions around the world, practical high-end service exams, and blind tasting, all in order to more fully understand the effect that climate, terroir, and production has on the final product in the glass.
I’ve honed this skill in practice scenarios with veteran sommeliers, coffee cuppings, and in competitions so that recognition of certain characteristics in a wine or a spirit truly encapsulate why this beverage is special to its place, culture, and most importantly, the humans putting their life’s work into making them.
There are a couple of spirits in particular that seem to echo this sense of place in a wine and mezcal is one of the them. Just as a light Beaujolais is a different wine than a Napa Cabernet, we shouldn’t rush to call them just red wine. We can’t sip a Tepeztate versus an Espadín and call them just a smoky version of tequila.
In order to help us identify wines blind, the wines are broken down to their different elements- sight, nose, palate, and structure. While tasting, it’s hard to get away from this structure, but it can help us garner a more valued appreciation for a spirit as well.