PUERTO VALLARTA GETS CLOSER TO CREATING THE MUNICIPAL CLIMATE CHANGE PLAN

PUERTO VALLARTA GETS CLOSER TO CREATING THE MUNICIPAL CLIMATE CHANGE PLAN

Puerto Vallarta took another step towards the creation of a Municipal Climate Change Plan (PMCC), which allows it, from the local level, to face this global phenomenon that threatens settlements located along the coasts.

On April 10 and 11, the Mitigation and Adaptation to Climate Change Design Workshop was held, which is part of the Puerto Vallarta’s PMCC development process.

This process is being supported by the Ministry of Environment and Territorial Development (SEMADET) of the State of Jalisco and the German Cooperation for Sustainable Development in Mexico (GIZ), through the programs of Vertically Integrated Climate Policies (VICLIM) and Adaptation to the climate change based on ecosystems with the private sector in Mexico (ADAPTUR).

During the work session, key individuals were informed about the conditions of the municipality in the face of climate change, the sectors that most emit Greenhouse Gases (GHGs), as well as which are the most vulnerable for the future.

The group worked on the construction of a long-term strategic vision for the PMCC of Puerto Vallarta, developed in a participatory manner that meets the needs of each sector.

The actions proposed in this workshop will be an initial input for the design and implementation of future policies and instruments that promote sectoral articulation for decision-making, in the face of the global challenge posed by climate change.

The exercise counted on the participation of strategic actors of diverse scopes, among them of the public, social sector, academia and private sector, who from their perspectives and taking care of their interests, contributed quality inputs for the development of the PMCC.

The fact that Puerto Vallarta has a PMCC, provides a comparative advantage over other tourist destinations, being in a better position to reduce the risks of this global climatic phenomenon, as well as its impacts on the community.

Beyond this workshop, society and key stakeholders can continue to be involved in each of the stages of the development of the PMCC, through the PMCC Blog (https://energypedia.info/wiki/Portal:PMCC), a online space designed to promote the exchange of experiences, successes and challenges, as well as sharing documents, studies, videos, events, among other materials that are of common interest.

THE VERY BREAST OF JOANNA! AT THE RED ROOM

THE VERY BREAST OF JOANNA! AT THE RED ROOM

JoAnna (aka Joe Perry) is taking the stage at The Red Room for four shows only at 9:30 pm on April 17, 21, 24 & 28. Having just completed another hugely successful season with Chi Chi Rones in Dueling Drag Divas at Act II, audiences will be thrilled to see this creative and amazingly talented entertainer once again at The Red Room before the season winds down.

JoAnna sings LIVE with her own voices (no lip sync) and a soaring range. Her infamous and uncanny celebrity impersonations are legendary and make for a night of great entertainment! Her show features everything from pop to rock to jazz standards. She’ll amaze you with numbers from Adele, Patsy, Cyndi, Judy, Cher Eartha, Amy and many more! You’ll hear clever versions of favorite songs that JoAnna delivers with side-splitting humor and fabulous parodies.

JoAnna is celebrating her 13th season as a headline performer in Puerto Vallarta! She started out in NYC, and has won numerous awards, including “The Best Patsy Cline Singer” at the Cowgirl Hall of Fame. She is well-known for her amazing impressions, and can do amazing impersonations of our favorite musical stars, past and present! In addition to PV, JoAnna has enjoyed 6 successful performance seasons in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and 8 spectacular summers in Ogunquit, Maine! The New York Times has hailed her as “One of the Best!” and the Florida Sun writes that she is “Beyond impressions, Parody and Burlesque.”

Danny Mininni, Act II’s founder recently shared this about JoAnna. “13 years ago when I first moved to Puerto Vallarta, I was on the beach and this man walked up to me and said hey you want to see a show. We chatted a bit and he told me he did this show at Peter Deep’s Club Mañana, they had a small showroom back then. This was my FIRST introduction to PV Cabaret, well really the first time I had ever seen this sort of show. ALL LIVE SINGING DRAG QUEEN SHOW. I will never forget it. It was Aunt JoAnna back than and she shared the show with Kim Kuzma and I thought ohhhh they need to have their own shows. I call her the longest living PV Draq Queen, Join us this Wednesday when Joanna returns as a solo act reliving all her crazy shenanigans”

So don’t miss this limited engagement of ‘The Very Breast of JoAnna,’ The Gal With a Gazillion Voices on Wednesdays and Sundays for ONLY 2 weeks. Come see a true star of Drag and enjoy the incredible talent of JoAnna!

Grass-roots glass crushing reduces impact of recycled bottles in Baja Sur

Claire Donahue, the “glass lady,Claire Donahue, the “glass lady,” spearheaded a glass-crushing initiative.

Grass-roots glass crushing reduces impact of recycled bottles in Baja Sur

Citizens step in to deal with waste management problems

Like many Mexican communities, the twin towns of La Ventana and El Sargento in Baja California Sur suffer from serious waste management problems. The community’s single garbage truck breaks down regularly and its inadequate landfill is reaching capacity.

The two contiguous towns sit at the apex of pristine La Ventana Bay on the Gulf of California. They are blessed with scenic beauty, good weather and El Norte, the steady wind blowing across the Bay in winter that makes for perfect kiteboarding and windsurfing.

In fact, La Ventana Bay is regularly listed as either the No. 1 or No. 2 destination in the world for practitioners of these sports.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that the area is suffering from rapid growth. Its infrastructure, including waste management, simply isn’t up to dealing with the increasing population and business activity.

Five years ago, this led a group of residents to found the non-profit No Más Basura (NMB), or No More Garbage, to develop a program to remove recyclables from the waste stream. Not only does it offer a popular weekly recycling event for the community, it’s actively engaged in educational programs K-12 to help raise a new generation of recyclers and to train local businesses in recycling methods. The group also organizes several annual community-wide clean-up days.

glass crusher quickly reduces a weekly bottle collection to crushed glass.
Though quiet as a kitchen blender, the crusher quickly reduces a weekly bottle collection to crushed glass.

One major focus is minimizing the impact of Easter Week on local beaches as some 5,000 people, many from nearby La Paz, gather to party for three or four days. In addition to organizing trash removal and recycling, NMB fields ambassadors from local schools who patrol the beaches to ask campers to take home as much of their trash as possible and to dispose properly of the rest in provided receptacles.

NMB is confronting the two major problems that dog virtually all recycling efforts — raising money to fund the operation and what to do with the recyclables once collected. Recyclers might think: “Good for me. I’ve gotten rid of that stuff in the right way.” But it’s doubtful that too much thought is given to where “that stuff” is going and how.

Most recyclable material is of little, if any, value. So, creative ways must often be found to make use of it. Fortunately, plastics, aluminum and metals are marketable. NMB gives all the plastic to the local schools for them to sell in La Paz. The aluminum and mixed metals are sold to a recycler and the proceeds help buy gas for transportation.

Cardboard is another matter. Since the Chinese banned imports of waste cardboard, the market has collapsed. Prices are so low in La Paz that it’s not worth the gas to take it there. However, NMB is looking into ways to get the commodity to the recycler without making a special trip. Another solution is providing cardboard to Rancho Cacachilas, a local sustainable resort, where it is used as mulch for its extensive organic gardening.

Styrofoam is another significant problem for recyclers. NMB does not accept Styrofoam items such as plates, cups and food containers, but a significant amount in the form of packing materials is provided to a local manufacturer of “eco blocks,” some 80% of which are polystyrene. Eco blocks are used in construction, replacing standard concrete blocks.

Unique to this area, because of unusually high kiteboarding and windsurfing activity, is the presence of discarded sails made of virtually indestructible ripstop polyester. To take sails out of the waste stream, NMB offers them to a local seamstress who manufactures colorful, strong, reusable shopping bags and purses. This also helps keep plastic bags out of the landfill.

Samples of crushed glass.
Samples of crushed glass.

But one the biggest headaches facing recyclers is what to do with glass bottles. Each week NMB collects as many as 3,000 bottles — primarily beer, wine and liquor. There is, however, no market for the commodity.

Recycling processors are increasingly reluctant to crush glass for reuse by bottle manufacturers because so much of the glass they receive is contaminated. The cost for removing labels, eliminating contaminates and cleaning glass prior to crushing is prohibitive.

Enter the NMB “glass lady.”

Claire Donahue, a diminutive seasonal resident of La Ventana and NMB member, met with program manager Javier Ponce about two years ago to discuss the glass issue. Claire had some experience in creating art glass and was intrigued by the challenge of dealing with the huge weekly bottle collection. She and Javier decided NMB should crush its own bottles and find local uses for the product.

After doing the necessary research, she located and purchased a glass crusher for NMB to use. It sits in a palapa on her beachfront property where she crushes bottles from each weekly collection.

“Meanwhile, we are moving ahead with plans to build a bodega for the glass crusher on 1.65 hectares on the outskirts of town.”

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Label removal was the first hurdle. Claire discovered that labels from most beverage companies are not easily removed. Many are virtually impossible. These “dirty” bottles are crushed to be used by local builders and homeowners for drainage fields or construction footers as a partial replacement for the sand or gravel.

But even if this dirty crushed glass goes to the landfill, it’s still a win since it takes significantly less space than uncrushed glass.

Claire has discovered about a dozen manufacturer’s bottles whose labels are easily removed after soaking. They are washed and turned into clean glass for use in concrete countertops, floors and walls. For countertops, for example, various combinations of colored glass are added to the concrete and ground smooth. Local builder Édgar Ramírez is offering this alternative to customers and experimenting with other uses.

Clean crushed glass is also suitable for decorating pavers, benches, water features and other landscaping applications including mulch. The commodity may also be used as a filler in concrete and road paving.

From an environmental perspective, Claire notes that glass bottles, despite being overtaken by plastic containers, are a better choice. It takes twice as much fossil fuel to make a plastic bottle than a comparable glass container and, in the process, plastic bottle manufacturing releases five times the greenhouse gases and requires 17 times as much water compared with plastic. And they help decrease the plague of plastic going into the oceans.

As soon as practical, she would like to turn the operation over to a third party, either a local entrepreneur or an educator interested in creating an internship program for local high school kids.

Interns would provide part of the labor and proceeds from the sale of the glass and products they’d create could go to a charity of their choosing, a scholarship fund or even back into the program. The internship would also teach many general skills important to anyone entering the workforce.

“There is a lot of excitement about the potential for raw crushed glass as well as the products that can be made locally with it. We hope that a successful project will inspire others in their creative treatment of ‘waste’ for the betterment of our community.

“A community like La Ventana/El Sargento is a great place to be involved in a project of this sort since you really feel like you can make a difference.”

The writer is a newspaper and magazine journalist, photojournalist and the author of two books.

Single Story For Sale in Nuevo Vallarta, Nuevo Vallarta

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Beachfront Turn-key Condo!!!

•  187.74 sqft , 2 bath , 3 bdrm single story FOR SALE  USD559,000 .
MLS® 15451

Visualize yourself living in the most exclusive low density condominium development on the expansive beaches of Riviera Nayarit in Nuevo Vallarta. Next envision walking into your gorgeous, 2 + 2 + den/3rd bedroom, turn-key condo on the 7th floor with views of Banderas Bay from downtown Vallarta & South Shore to the North Shore. Now, imagine entertaining your guests on the terrace – complete with dining for 6, BBQ, wet bar and lounge bed. Ocean Terrace is a professionally managed development that operates with a commercial chiller system reducing a/c costs of over 80%. It has a tortoise egg refuge on their beach and is close to grocery stores, restaurants, entertainment and the Nuevo Vallarta Marina.

Visualícese viviendo en el desarrollo de condominios de baja densidad más exclusivo en las extensas playas de Riviera Nayarit en Nuevo Vallarta. A continuación, imagínese entrar a su hermoso condominio llave en mano de 2 + 2 + den / 3rd en el séptimo piso con vistas a la Bahía de Banderas desde el centro de Vallarta y la costa sur hasta la costa norte. Ahora, imagínese entreteniendo a sus invitados en la terraza, con comedor para 6, barbacoa, bar y cama en el salón. Ocean Terrace es un desarrollo administrado profesionalmente que opera con un sistema de enfriadores comerciales que reduce los costos de aire acondicionado en más del 80%. Tiene un refugio de huevos de tortuga en su playa y está cerca de supermercados, restaurantes, lugares de entretenimiento y el puerto deportivo de Nuevo Vallarta.

Property information

Possession of a property in Mexico: Do’s and Don’ts

Possession of a property in Mexico: Do’s and Don’ts

In the process of buying a property, there are two aspects that require special attention: one of course is obtaining title, the other, which is as important, is obtaining possession of the property you are buying. In Mexico, possession of a property is a very delicate matter and in many cases is not treated with the importance it deserves. Under our legal system, the concept of possession can be quite complex and may differ considerably from the legalities of possessing a property in the U.S. or Canada. This is why in dealing with this controversial topic, it is best if you are aware of some scenarios in which you should act within the scope of what is considered lawful.

What should I do regarding possession if I am buying property in Mexico?

If you are buying a property from the developer, the purchase contract should specify a specific date for the delivery of the unit, with penalties in case of default. When this delivery date comes, most certainly the developer will have you sign a contract in which you agree to the conditions in which the unit is being delivered, and if there are still details or work to be done in your condo, then you should specify that in the agreement (punch list), along with a due date for those details. You should also be aware that your one-year guarantee starts to count as of the day you take possession.

If I already own a property in Mexico, what are my do’s and don’ts in terms of possession?

Mexican law tends to protect the person in possession of a property, especially if that person obtained the possession through legal means, like for example through a lease agreement. The legal premise is that you can only evict someone through a ruling from a judge obtained after a proper trial. Without this ruling, evicting someone (either by denying access, locking out or changing locks or codes) can be considered a crime which is called Unlawful Dispossession of Property (or Despojo in Spanish) and this crime can be punished with up to 3 years in prison.

You might think that just by having title over a property you have superior rights over anyone who is in possession of that same property, but this is not always the case. That is why before evicting someone from your property, you should consider carefully taking this action without following the proper legal proceeding, since by not doing so, the consequences can be severe and may include criminal charges.

Bio.

Roberto Ortiz de Montellano is a Mexican-Licensed Attorney at Law with over twenty years of professional legal experience. He started his own practice in Puerto Vallarta five years ago. His areas of expertise focus mostly on Real Estate Law, Business Law, HOAs and Estate Planning.

Contact Info.

Roberto Ortiz de Montellano F.
Mexican-Licensed Attorney at Law
E-mail: roberto@ortizdemontellano.com
Website: www.ortizdemontellano.com

RESTAURANT WEEK RETURNS WITH RECORD PARTICIPATION

RESTAURANT WEEK RETURNS WITH RECORD PARTICIPATION

The Riviera Nayarit has confirmed its participation in Restaurant Week, a gourmet festival that will be held from May 15th through June 10th with the inclusion of 12 of the destination’s restaurants—double the number of registrants from 2018.

Generally speaking, this is the second year in a row the record for participating restaurants has been broken with 62 restaurants preparing for the 2019 event(the previous record was established in 2018 with 59 participants).

The event is organized by Vallarta Lifestyles Media Group with the support of the Riviera Nayarit Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Puerto VallartaTourism Trust. Restaurant week is one of several top culinary events held in the region.

Participants comprise a wide range of types of cuisine and are located all along Banderas Bay, providing local and foreign diners with the opportunity to taste the varied flavors of the destination at reduced prices.

Throughout the event, these venues will offer innovative, three-course menus (with three different options each) and will be grouped into three price categories: $289, $399 y $466 MXN per person, which in some cases represent a discount up to 50 %. Note that tips and beverages are not included in these prices.

This year’s 62 participating restaurants are: Amadeo’s Bistró, Archie’s Wok, Azafrán, Barcelona Tapas, Barrio Bistro, Bistro Limón, Bistro Teresa, Bistro Orgánico (Hotel Cielo Rojo), Blanca Blue, Boccon di Vino, Boquería Hidalgo, Café des Artistes, Coco Tropical, Daiquiri Dick’s, Di Vino Dante, Eclecticos, El Arrayán, El Dorado, El Patrón Viva Vallarta, Eugenia, Gaviotas, Hacienda San Ángel Gourmet, Joe Jack’s Fish Shack, Kaiser Maximilian, La Cappella, La Cigale, La Leche, La Palapa, Layla’s Restaurante, Le Bistro Café, Le Kliff, Lobster Paradise, Lupita Mexican & Seafood, Mark’s Bar & Grill, Mérida Grill, Mikado, Nicksan, No Way José!, Ocean Grill, Ookii Sushi, OPA Greek Bistro, Oso’s Fish Market Restaurant, Pal’Mar Sea Food & Grilled Garage, Pezlimon, Pizzeria La Dolce, Porto Bello, Restaurante Icú, River Café, Sapori di Sicilia, Seasons PV, Serrano’s Meat House, Si Señor Beach, Sonora House, Spice Market, The Blue Shrimp, The Iguana, Tintoque, Trio Mediterranean, Tuna Blanca, Umai, Venazu and Vitea.

The 16 restaurants joining Restaurant Week for the very first time are: Amadeo’s Bistro, Bistro Limon, Boquería Hidalgo, Eclécticos, El Patrón Viva Vallarta, Eugenia, Joe Jack’s Fish Shack, Lobster Paradise, Ocean Grill, Ookii Sushi, OPA Greek Bistro, Pal’Mar Sea Food & Grilled Garage, Sonora House, Spice Market, Umai and Venazu.

HOLY WEEK AND EASTER VACATIONS IN THE RIVIERA NAYARIT

HOLY WEEK AND EASTER VACATIONS IN THE RIVIERA NAYARIT

You have no excuse for staying home during Holy Week and Easter! The Riviera Nayarit wants your vacations to be unforgettable with Seasonal Offers that go live from Friday, April 5 through May 2, 2019 that include promotions from 23 hotels associated with the destination.

Participating hotels from Nuevo Vallarta, Flamingos, Bucerías, La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Punta de Mita, and Rincón de Guayabitos are offering rates from $2,700 MXN and discounts from 20% up to 54%, free amenities, and much more.

This promotional event is organized by the Bahía de Banderas Hotel and Motel Association (AHMBB and the Riviera Nayarit Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) to incentivize tourism during this holiday period, one of most important for domestic travelers.

“These offers were created to make the luxury of the Riviera Nayarit accessible to more people,” said Marc Murphy, director of the Bahía de Banderas Hotel and Motel Association (AHMBB) and managing director of the Riviera Nayarit Hotel and Motel Association (CVB). “We have a great variety of hotels and resorts for everyone, and each time the properties are offering more discounts and incentives.”

Promotions and amenities:
• Free calls to the U.S. and Canada • Pet-friendly hotels • Up to 3 children stay free • $50 USD in resort credits • Free WiFi • Unlimited calls in Mexico and to the United States and Canada • Unlimited all-inclusive • Unlimited rounds of golf • Theme nights • Pillow menus • Free babysitting for 8 hours with a minimum stay of 5 nights • 3 and 6 months with no interest.

Stay in the best hotels:
In Nuevo Vallarta and Flamingos: Dreams Villamagna; Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit; Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta; Marina Banderas; Marival Residences; Marival Emotions Resort; Occidental Nuevo Vallarta; Ocean Breeze; Paradise Village; Riu Palace Pacífico; Riu Vallarta; Samba Vallarta; Las Palomas Nuevo Vallarta; Villa del Palmar Flamingos; Villa La Estancia.
Bucerías: Royal Decameron Complex; Vista Vallarta.
La Cruz de Huanacaxtle: B Nayar; Matlali; Vallarta Gardens.
Punta de Mita and Higuera Blanca: Rancho Banderas; Imanta Resort.
Rincón de Guayabitos: Las Cabañas del Capitán.

Vallarta is Planning Semana Santa Activities

Vallarta is Planning Semana Santa Activities

Semana Santa is fast approaching! The municipal government in Puerto Vallarta is busy preparing family friendly events to be enjoyed over the two-week holiday.

The city will set up four stages on the Malecón, where people will be able to enjoy free entertainment, including traditional Mexican dance, live music, circus shows and more.

Municipal tourism director Ramón González Lomelí says that the city’s two ‘Turicletos,’ pedal-powered by as many as 20 people at a time, as well as a train will be put on the Malecón during semana Santa.

To promote tourism and encourage visitors to check out the city centre, González Lomelí said that these are just some of the activities that the city has planned.

The celebrations will continue into the month of May with other events including the 13th Festival Vallarta Azteca del Folclor from April 28 through May 5 with a week of shows around the city, the Puerto Vallarta Open ATP Tennis Tournament from April 29 through May 5 held across from Villa del Palmar in the Hotel Zone, and the 2019 Down Puerto Vallarta Extreme Bike Race is on again on May 18 & 19.

If tequila is king, raicilla is the queen: a visit to a rustic distillery in Jalisco

Making raicilla at Rancho NuevoMaking raicilla at Rancho Nuevo: after heating the oven, the fire is extinguished and the piñas are thrown inside.

If tequila is king, raicilla is the queen: a visit to a rustic distillery in Jalisco

Dry-baked agave gives this mezcal a distinctive flavor

“Have you ever seen how they make raicilla, John?” asked my friend JP Mercado. Well, I had been told that raicilla was a kind of moonshine made in the mountains, but beyond that I knew nothing, so when JP offered to take me to a taberna (rustic distillery) where they make it, I signed up on the spot.

“And where is that taberna located?” I asked my friend.

“In a place called Rancho Nuevo, which is 70 kilometers east of Puerto Vallarta,” Mercado replied, but when he sent me the coordinates, I stared at my map of Jalisco in disbelief. Rancho Nuevo appeared to be situated right smack in the middle of a huge empty space — with no roads visible — identified only as Sierra Jolapa, a mountain range I had never heard of.

“Well, well,” I thought, “this already sounds interesting.”

Before heading for the taberna in the hills, I tried to learn what I could about raicilla.

JP Mercado with the Maximiliana agave.
JP Mercado with the Maximiliana agave.

I found out that the mezcal industry — according researchers Zizumbo and Colunga — was probably born in 1612 in the state of Colima when the conquistadores cut down all the coconut palms on the coast in an effort to eliminate the production of a distilled spirit called tuba or vino de cocos.

The thirsty population then turned to agaves. When the Spaniards eventually got around to taxing these spirits, local people came up with a tale to tell the tax collector: “We aren’t making our drink from the piña or agave heart (which was taxable) but from its root (raicilla)” — which, of course, is the very same thing.

Finally came the day for me to visit the raicilla taberna. Early one morning JP and his wife Ana picked me up. As we drove, Ana, who had grown up in that mysterious Sierra Jolapa, told me that while traveling around Mexico and the world, she would present new friends with a gift of raicilla, knowing they would surely never have heard of it.

“But everyone who tried it was pleasantly surprised at how good it tasted and would want more.”

Eventually the owners of bars and hotels also began to ask the Mercados about this “vino del cerro” and they began to look into the question of permits and regulations that might allow the raicilla of Rancho Nuevo to be marketed commercially, as is tequila.

“Wait a minute!” I interjected. “Exactly what is the difference between raicilla and tequila?”

The distillery is nestled in the hills of the Sierra Jolapa.
The distillery is nestled in the hills of the Sierra Jolapa.

JP told me I might as well add sotol, bacanora, tepemete and bingarrote to my list. All of these beverages, I found out, are distilled spirits made from the juice of a cooked agave, so all of them are mezcales (actually, this is incorrect. Sotol is made from a member of the asparagus family).

Tequila is made only from the blue agave, while raicilla can be made from any one of five agaves, and so on down the list.

To complicate things, territory comes into play here. The word tequila can only be used for blue agave spirits produced in Jalisco or parts of four other states. “The denomination of origin for raicilla was unclear up to very recently,” JP told me, “but now the product is protected and can only be made in Jalisco.

“Meanwhile, we have obtained federal, state and local permits to produce our own brand of raicilla, which is called La Reina, made only in Rancho Nuevo where we are now headed.”

From Guadalajara we drove west and then north, through ever higher hills covered with oaks and feathery pine trees, perhaps Lumholtz’s pine. Following steep, narrow dirt roads we skirted the edge of a deep valley bordered on the other side by gorgeous red cliffs.

At the end of a three-hour drive, we reached La Taberna de la Reina, situated alongside a brook bubbling with clear, clean, drinkable water.

Raicilla La Reina, “queen of mezcales.”
Raicilla La Reina, “queen of mezcales.”

Here we were welcomed by the maestro of the taberna, Don Julio Topete Becerra, who carries on a tradition passed from father to son. Right from the spot where we stood, we could see every stage in the raicilla-making process.

The hillside above us was covered with Maximiliana agaves, which have very broad leaves. To my surprise and delight, I learned that these agaves come from seeds, not clones (as do tequila agaves), so the flowers are fertilized by bats, suggesting that every bottle of raicilla deserves a “bat-friendly” sticker.

After six to eight years, the agave is mature. Its pencas are removed (often with an axe) and the root is broken into several pieces. The next stage is cooking, which turned out a bit different from what I had seen at tequila distilleries.

The oven is made of adobe with walls half a meter thick. A hot fire is started inside the oven and allowed to burn for six hours. Once the oven walls are hot, the coals are pulled out with a long-handled rake and the chunks of piña are thrown inside. Immediately, the two openings of the oven are closed with big blocks of adobe and sealed tightly with clay.

So the agave root is not steamed or smoked, but dry-baked, giving raicilla its own distinctive taste.

The most unusual procedure in making raicilla is the one that comes next. The sweet, juicy mezcal is not run through a crusher or under a stone wheel. Instead, it is placed in a long, hollowed-out tree trunk (oak) and mashed by hand using heavy wooden pounders with long handles.

This is back-breaking work and if you visit the place, they will dare you to try doing it for just five minutes.

Once the canoe-shaped trough is filled with juice, the gooey, fibrous mixture is removed using buckets and poured into wooden barrels for fermentation.

The next stage, as in tequila-making, is distillation. This is easy to understand at La Reina, where you can see the final product dripping from the end of a long copper tube, most of which is coiled inside a barrel filled with water.

The final stage of production is aging. Don Julio dipped into a barrel and I got my first taste of properly made raicilla. What a surprise!

“This is really good!” I exclaimed. “It can hold its own against any tequila, in my book.”

“Now you can see why Ana’s friends were always pestering her for more,” said JP. “In these hills, they say, if tequila is king, raicilla is the queen.”

    • 7—sm-Cuastecomate-Flavored-Raicilla
      Ana Mercado tastes raicilla flavored with cuastecomate gourds.
  • 1—aa-cows
  • 3—cc-Fermentation
  • 4—Full-of-juicy-fibers
  • 5—julio-and-Silvia
  • 6—s3-Visitors-try-their-hand-at-the-machacado
  • 7—sm-Cuastecomate-Flavored-Raicilla
  • 9—sm-Growing-Lechuguillas
  • 10—sm-Juice-Extraction-Machine
  • 11—sm-sealing-the-oven
  • 12—sm-tasting-mezcal
  • 13—sm-The-Cooks

If you would like to know more, or to visit the taberna in Rancho Nuevo, just leave a message at Raicilla La Reina. You’ll discover that both JP Mercado and his wife Ana speak excellent English.

The writer has lived near Guadalajara, Jalisco, for more than 30 years and is the author of A Guide to West Mexico’s Guachimontones and Surrounding Area and co-author of Outdoors in Western Mexico. More of his writing can be found on his website.