As Tequila & Mezcal Fest readies itself for 3,000 agave enthusiasts to descend on the Old Truman Brewery later this month, there will be a tinge of sadness to the festivities after the recent natural disaster in Mexico. Founder Eduardo Gomez spoke to Imbibe about the relief effort and gave us the lowdown on what the trade can expect on 7-8 October.
What would be your top picks for the trade at this year’s festival?
'Definitely the seminars. We have Mr Francisco Alcaraz, the inventor of Patrón Tequila, a well known man in the tequila industry in Mexico, coming to the UK for the first time to attend the show.
'In addition, we will have Jaime Orendain from Tequila Arette and Orendain Tequila – one of the most traditional and well known tequilas. We also have couple of round tables where we will discuss different topics such as the differences between the agave spirits, agave species, regions, production methods etc.'
'Tequila & Mezcal Fest is not only about drinks, chef Adriana Cavita from Peyote Mayfair, Peyotito London & Ibiza will show us how to make the perfect guacamole and the secrets behind Mexican ceviche.
'My second highlight will be the Perfectionist’s garden speakeasy bar by Patrón Tequila where we’ll have their winning Perfectionist bartenders from around the world, shaking up cocktails, and also a retro 1940s Chevrolet truck by Don Julio tequila.
'Thirdly, we will have a huge stand dedicated to ancestral spirits from Promexico, showcasing some incredible agave brands that have never been showcased in the UK before. You will be able to taste everything from ancestral mezcal, raicilla, Bacaniras, Sotol and plentiful other Mexican spirits that many don't even know exist… I won’t tell you any more.'
What makes the Old Truman Brewery such a good location for this?
'The OTB is in the heart of London and is one of the most iconic locations in the East End. It is very well connected and known for their markets and weekend crowds. The boiler house is a listed building with loads of character and beautiful red brick walls which fit very well with the festival, giving it an urban edge.'
Have you been surprised by the interest surrounding agave in recent years?
'Yes indeed. Every year it seems people get more hooked by tequila and mezcal. This is for many reasons. One, Mexican food in the UK is increasingly popular.. each week a new Mexican restaurant opens in the UK and most importantly it's authentic Mexican food. This month Ella Canta Restaurant opens at the Intercontinental hotel in Park Lane and Santo Remedio in London Bridge.
'Two, tourism: Mexico is now the eighth most visited country in the world, and the UK is the biggest visitors to Mexico in Europe... so once you land in Mexico... there is no as you can't leave without trying tequila or mezcal and having the best time of your life.'
How important is it to push the food offering at the show?
'Hugely important! This year we've team up with three fantastic restaurants: Café Pacifico, Barrio and Temper Soho. All will be offering the best Mexican-style food, from goat tacos, to tamales to El Pastor taco so loads of delicious treats for everyone.'
How many visitors do you anticipate?
'We are not looking to grow hugely in numbers but in quality of people attending, that's our biggest aim.'