Derived from the agave plant, mescal — or mezcal — has been enjoyed since before the Spanish conquest.
Most is produced in the Mexican state of Oaxaca and, as with so many distilled spirits, reveals distinct nuances in smoothness, smokiness and flavor.
How each producer distills is also unique to his facility and likely his family history of making mezcal. ondenser is kept cool through circulating it or by continuously using new cool water, and so on. No two traditional clay distillers or copper pot distillers use exactly the same recipe unless they are close family members.
A friend said, Alvin Starkman has written the best book on mezcal in the English language.... read more
But my guess is that the book may be more attractive to people who have already moved south and want to know what makes their fellow expats tick, and maybe pick up a few nuggets of practical information in the process.
Each short chapter in the 215-page softcover focuses on one person or couple who, in most cases, use only their first name.
Yet, with only that thin cloak of anonymity, the interviewees pretty much pour out their hearts, and the author gets in a fair amount of personal details about her background and her nearly 20 years living the expat life in the Lake Chapala area... read more
Sterling's 2014 book may well be considered the definitive work on the foodways of the Yucatan. read more
Stan Brock, an unusual Englishman made semi-famous by his role in the TV series Wild Kingdom, had founded something called Remote Area Medical and was soliciting volunteers for a three-week mission to one of the Tuxpans somewhere in the mountains of Mexico.
He described the poverty, misery and misfortune that plagued the small village. He talked of deadly disease and infant mortality. His plea for the primitive Indians, the Huichols, may have actually triggered a few tears among the tough military trainees...read more
Do you remember that best seller several decades ago, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, in which author Robert Pirsig details (but gets lost in digressions) a motorcycle trip from Wisconsin to California?
David Bryen's new book, Riding off the Edge of the Map, is a much better book, detailing (and reflecting upon) a far more fascinating motorcycle trip — through Mexico's Copper Canyon.
What began as a pleasure trip metamorphosed into something else: "The highway had deteriorated from asphalt to terror..."
And so… perhaps lacking judgment because of the mercury poisoning, Frank opted for danger as well as adventure. On Tosca, his beloved mare, he rode south, and fifty miles west of El Paso he crossed the border into Mexico.
Frank, "with a fool's luck, managed to pick his way… between horse thieves from both sides, the Texas rangers who pursued them, Pancho Villa's Dorados, General Pershing's 6,000 gringo troops who were chasing Villa after the raid at Columbus, New Mexico,... read more
In 1969, this culture was already in decline, undermined by the relentless forces of what some still call progress.
Jungle adventures are always challenging. This trip was a very difficult one for Gary, his young companion, and although difficult as well for Krustev, the artist was generally of a calm and philosophically disposed spirit... read more
It is written with skill and with grace, and the old verities that are at the heart of being human are here: loss and grief, guilt and longing, loyalty and love.
Set in modern-day Mexico, it tells the story of Hank Singer and is also about his relationship with César Lobos de Madrid, whose "family was one of the oldest, wealthiest, and most politically connected in Chiapas, if not in all of Mexico."
Hank has arrived just a few weeks before the Zapatista uprising in Chiapas, led by Subcomandante Marcos, who on January 1, 1994, declared war against the government and the military... read more
The young Amanda, with the help of her thoughtful father, begins to understand la Casta Divina, the Divine Class, and how most members of this class "considered themselves superior by birth and the lighter color of their skin." read more
The idea of the book originated when Scherber, after living in San Miguel for only eight months, began asking himself questions like: "What had I given up to come here, and what had I gained? What was my new role in the community? Was I an exile? An expatriate? Would I ever live in the States again? How did I react to Americans I saw here visiting? What had I done?" read more
Worried about life passing him by, in 1898 Arturo "kissed his sweetheart Mariah goodbye and set off on his Mexican adventures."
Bayley, over one-hundred years later, "was plagued by the same fear about life passing me by." read more
A resident of San Miguel de Allende for several years, the author, Julie Doherty, writes both with affection and enthusiasm about the Bajío — a vast central plain that includes the states of Guanajuato and Querétaro.
She concentrates on two lovely towns, San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato, but she also offers us a glimpse of Querétaro City, Tequisquiapan, San Sebastian Bernal, Dolores Hildalgo, Mineral de Pozos, and the large manufacturing city of León. read more
Moving to Mexico's Lake Chapala: Checklists, How-To's, and Practical Information and Advice for Expats and Retirees
Alejandro Grattan-Dominguez, Editor-in-Chief of El Ojo del Lago, has this to say: "I found it highly readable, most comprehensive, and flawlessly organized. I think it's the best book of its kind that I have read, and I have been down here for 25 years."
Is the information current? You bet! Why? Because Lisa Jorgensen only moved here this past spring. read more
Migration is his third book in a little over three years. Now collecting belongings has been replaced by collecting experiences, and collecting memories of past experiences.
I am reminded a bit of one of my dad's favorite tee-shirts, which reads: "The less you own, the more you have." read more
And in this book they have gathered articles they have written about rivers and canyons, caves, volcanoes (both active and inactive), hot (and cold) springs, waterfalls, petroglyphs, pre-Columbian tombs, circular pyramids, boiling mud pots, even poltergeists, and exotic flora and fauna… all within a few hours of Guadalajara. read more
The story began in 1992 in San Miguel de Allende. Susan, in Mexico less than three months and having "decimated whatever savings I once had," supplemented her meagre but easy-earned modeling income by teaching English.
Carlos, the poor Mexican teenager, was indeed wise for his years; after her first class was over, he alone "remained, still seated at the second desk in the middle row, watching me." read more
"He found a cheap room at a dive called Hotel Milan in Old Town — the historic center of a coastal metropolis split into neatly demarcated districts of progress and poverty on a peninsula snaking up the coastline of Nayarit."
In Mazatlan he joins up with three New Zealanders, harmless jerks, introduces himself "and played at acting the chum." In San Blas — "on a spit of white land divided by estuaries, surrounded by jungle" — they buy some cheap dope, but the transaction turns out to be a set-up read more