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Gary Nabhan, Agave Spirits: The Past, Present, and Future of Mezcals
Gary Nabhan, Agave Spirits: The Past, Present, and Future of Mezcals

Thu, Jun 08


Collected Works Bookstore & Coffeehouse

Gary Nabhan, Agave Spirits: The Past, Present, and Future of Mezcals

Agave Spirits takes the reader on a journey through the prehistory, recent history and future of mezcals, tequilas and other uses of desert-adapted agaves. Acclaimed ethnobotanist Gary Paul Nabhan & pioneering restauranteur David Suro Piñera delight in the diversity of the distillate agave spirits.

Date, Time & Location

Jun 08, 2023, 6:00 PM MDT

Collected Works Bookstore & Coffeehouse, 202 Galisteo St, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA

About the Event

This will be an in-store presentation featuring Gary Nabhan, and will be live-streamed to Zoom, register for Zoom here.

Copies of Agave Spirits can be purchased online from CW here or by calling the store (505) 988-4226.

The agave plant was never destined to become tasteless, cheap tequila.

All tequilas are mezcals; all mezcals are made from agaves; and every bottle of mezcal is the remarkable result of collaborations among agave entrepreneurs, botanists, distillers, beverage distributors, bartenders, and more. Agave Spirits celebrates "biodiversity in a bottle:--- how mezcals draw upon a richer variety of plant species and fermentation microbes than any other distillate in the world. And it also tells the story of the farmworkers and distillers who may be hidden from view, but remain "essential workers" in a rapidly changing industry that faces environmental perils and social justice issues.

Nabhan and Suro Piñera endeavor to track down the more distant kin in the family of agaves, and, along the way, they reveal the stunning innovations that have been transforming the industry around tequilas and mezcals in recent decades.

The result of the authors’ fieldwork and on-the-ground interviews with mezcaleros in eight Mexican states, Agave Spirits shows how traditional methods of mezcal production are inspiring a new generation of individuals, including women, both in and beyond the industry. And as they reach back into a rich, centuries-long history, Nabhan and Suro Piñera make clear that understanding the story behind a bottle of mezcal, more than any other drink, will not only reveal what lies ahead for the tradition—including its ability to adapt in the face of the climate crisis—but will also enrich the drinking experience for readers.

Essential reading for mezcal connoisseurs and amateurs interested in unlocking the past of a delightful distillate, Agave Spirits tells the tale of the most flavorful and memorable spirits humankind has ever sipped and savored.

Featuring twelve illustrations by René Alejandro Hernández Tapia and indices that list common and scientific names for agave species, as well as the names of plants, animals, and domesticated agaves used in the production of distillates.

About the Authors

Gary Paul Nabhan is a MacArthur “Genius Grant” Award–winning ethnobotanist and literary naturalist who has been recognized as a pioneer in the local food movement by Time magazine and Slow Food International as well as a pioneer in the heirloom seed saving movement. He co-founded Native Seeds/SEARCH while working at the University of Arizona, with both organizations co-hosting the first-ever national conference on community-based seed banks and heirloom seed saving. Gary lives in Patagonia, Arizona on a five-acre homestead to the southwest of Tucson where he farms a diverse set of heirloom fruit and nut varieties from the Spanish Mission era and from the Middle Eastern homelands of his Lebanese ancestors, as well as heritage grains and beans adapted to arid climates.

David Suro Piñera is a restaurateur and founder of the Tequila Interchange Project. He lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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