BEÚ Ensamble I
Like many farmers from small communities, Refugia Cortez Ramos, also known as Cuca,
decided to try her luck in a big city like Guadalajara as a domestic worker when she was young.
However, she realized that the precious tradition that her family cultivated for generations was now left only in the hands of her father and was in danger of extinction; she then returned home to learn the ancestral knowledge of agave distillation, which she embraced and took to the next level.
Today, at the age of 30, Cuca, with the support of her parents and sister, has been in charge of the mezcal production at her family's palenque for the past three years. She applies old traditional techniques, such as the use of bulls for harvesting and also the tahona process; a large millstone is used to crush the agave in a pit - but also the use of only one distillation with double cooling (alambique de cobre con refrescadera) to preserve the most of the plant’s flavor - this technique is unique to this region and part of the mezcal tradition in Miahuatlán.
For her ensambles, Cuca chose the most traditional and sustainable way of making mezcal:
"You take what nature offers you, as only plants with sufficient maturity are used".... so you get an individual and unique spirit.
The locals of the surrounding communities and visitors are amazed that a young woman like her makes traditional mezcal. In fact, her work is highly appreciated and well-known by other mezcal producers. In the future, Cuca would hope for more women to carry on and continue
the tradition of making mezcal, so that they can one day join forces and work together.
Maguey: Madrecuishe (Agave karwinskii), Bicuishe (Agave karwinskii), Mexicano (Agave rhodacantha), Tepeztate (Agave marmorata), Coyote (Agave lyobaa), Espadín (Agave angustifolia)
Location: La Pila, Miahuatlán de Porfirio Díaz
Maestra Mezcalera: Refugia Cortez Ramos
Ripening time: Varies
Oven type: Conical earth oven
Mill type: Bull-drawn milling
Fermentation: 6 days of natural fermentation in sabino wood barrels
Distillation: Single distilled in copper pot-stills, with refrescadera
Alc. Vol: 46%
Net. Cont: 700 mL