Visiting Angel Cruz Robles
Angel has a clay-pot destilería on the far side pf the ridge east of Sola de Vega. It’s about a 3-hour drive from Oaxaca city.
The grey loop at bottom right is the winding highway to the coast at Huatulco. You’re looking at the dirt road along the flank of the mountain; the circle is Angel’s palenque. El Lazo (pop. 129) is scattered houses along the road.
Angel’s sister Gabriela runs a place to eat, a comedor. I had eaten there walking pilgrimage to Juquila before I knew that anyone there made mezcal. The sign mentions the Posito, a huge spring that comes up in front of the comedor.
Ancestral roasting, crushing, fermentation, distillation. Angel’s methods are hands-on and thorough: he cuts and splits his own firewood for the still. He grows his own agaves on land uphill from the distillery, using clones from wild agaves.
Angel’s pit oven for roasting is small because clay stills are small, 25-35 liters. His batches are usually about 280 bottles.
The canoa and mazo Angel uses to crush his roasted agaves. His grandfather, 86, uses a canoa too
A rich fermentation.
One of Angel’s clay potstills.
Just above the destilería. Agaves from the region are famous: flavorful, subtly intense.
Agave spears used as spouts.
The wall of a shed: flattened oil tins.