Mexican culinary and spirit culture is having a huge resurgence, and enthusiasts are starting to give it the respect it deserves. Instead of being represented as kitschy, Americanized products, Mexican traditions are hitting the market with an authenticity that had always been lacking. As Tulum and Oaxaca become hot spots for foreign tourists, the veil has been lifted on some of Mexico’s most prominent natural resources.
Enter Rosaluna, a new mezcal brand launched by the creative minds of Nate Brown and Terry Lee. From the storied and vibrant city of Oaxaca, Rosaluna leads a new era of Mexican liquor that marks mezcal as a spirit comparable to some of the world’s finest whiskeys and scotches.
With a distinctively smokey flavor, mezcal can be enjoyed neat or as a cocktail. A couple of the founders’ favorites include a simple mix with grapefruit juice, or the Rosaluna original: the LFG (2 oz Rosaluna Mezcal, 0.75 oz lime juice, 0.75 oz honey syrup, garnish: one 0.25 inch thick jalapeño slice).
We caught up with Brown and Lee for a little afternoon mezcal tasting. We discussed what makes Rosaluna so distinctive, where the brand is going and picked up a few tips on how to best enjoy the full flavor experience at home.
How did Rosaluna come about?
Rosaluna was born organically out of a shared passion for mezcal. We love it so much; we made our own - and we wanted to share the magic with our friends and family. The brand at its core is based on friendship, exploration, curiosity and having fun. Rosaluna is the perfect distillation of all of those things. Our vision for the brand is simple: to share the magic of mezcal.
What led you to get into the mezcal business?
As mentioned, it’s quite simple: to share the magic of mezcal. Friendship has been the consistent [inspiration] since we started Rosaluna, and a series of serendipitous meetings took it from a shared passion to a business over the course of a few years. In many ways, Rosaluna found us. We’ve been best friends, and we became friends with our other co-founders (Pepe Mireles, Freddie Martignetti, JJ and Frida Méndez León Jiménez ) through introductions from other friends. Together, we were able to introduce Rosaluna to market.
What differentiates Rosaluna from other mezcals in the space?
When we began this process, we noticed that a lot of the other mezcal brands were really focused on marketing unique distillation methods and high smoke levels. We love all of the magical qualities and iterations of mezcal. However, what drew us to Rosaluna, and what we believe makes it unique is its specific taste. We work with one of the very few single-estate and single-family-made mezcals on the market. We grow our agaves longer, and that maturation allows for a sweeter, less smokey taste. While we are a mezcal for everybody, we like to specifically think we are a mezcal for people who are just discovering mezcal. A gateway mezcal, if you will.
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What was the inspiration behind Rosaluna?
In the exploration of working to build the brand, we found a lot of inspiration in Oaxaca, Mexico, where our mezcal is made. The color of the label, the art on the bottle, the simple nature of design: All of the answers to the questions we had been asking ourselves were right in front of us in Oaxaca. In addition, and previously mentioned, friendship was a big inspiration for us and will continue to be. Rosaluna is a celebration of the magic of mezcal in every way.
What's something you want people to take away from Rosaluna?
Beyond the magic of mezcal, we want people who interact with us to walk away and feel like there is a high integrity across the brand, from the quality of the product to the interactions with our team members. We are having fun while building a brand, and we want people to see and feel that.
How do you want people to enjoy it?
However they want! There are no rules when it comes to mezcal.
Photography by: Courtesy Rosaluna Mezcal