The Best Resort in Mexico Is Worth the Trip for the Mezcal Alone
One of the best artisanal mezcal collections in Mexico boasts spectacular ocean views that may include whales, depending on the day.
Perched on the southernmost tip of Mexico's Baja California Peninsula, the luxe Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal recently debuted its picturesque, open-air mezcal-drinking experience: the Agave Study at Peacock Alley. The property was just named the Best Resort in Mexico by Travel & Leisure, and I'd venture to say the mezcal alone (okay, and maybe the whales) makes it worth the trip.
The meticulously curated Agave Study, which features rare and premium agave spirits, overlooks a breathtaking expanse of blue water, often whale-flecked, where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez. From Agave Study, you can also spot the resort's cliffside seafood restaurant, El Farallon, and its picturesque Champagne Terrace. In the other direction, just out of view, is the famous rocky arch of Cabo San Lucas.
"We easily have over 100 labels of agave spirits," says the on-property agave expert and Director of Bars, David Hernandez. He selects each spirit himself, which requires frequent trips to Oaxaca to meet with mezcaleros. "The opportunity to meet, learn, work and collaborate with the world's top maestros mezcaleros has been the best experience of my life. They all have such amazing knowledge to share."
The Agave Study offers seven types of tastings, including ones focusing on mezcal, Clase Azul, regional agave spirits, and even personalized experiences featuring super-rare tequilas and mezcals. Among the mezcals, the Agave Study spotlights over 15 different types of agave, with a range of artisanal mezcals (distilled in copper alambique), ancestral mezcals (distilled in clay pots), industrial ones, blends of wild agaves, and a small selection of añejos. You'll find lesser-known agave spirits, like sotol and raicilla, as well as award-winning labels.
Hernandez's personal favorite bottle is the Koch Arroqueño. "This arroqueño was harvested wild after around 15 years of maturation," he says. "It is made using traditional methods in an earth pit using red oak and mesquite as the fuel to roast the piñas. Koch Arroqueño is distilled by Adrián Bautista in a copper pot still in the village of Rio de Ejutla, Oaxaca."
If you're overwhelmed by the options, Hernandez suggests the "Agave Experience" tasting, at 95 dollars a person, which dives deep into the history of each agave spirit and the states they are produced in. The tasting includes tequila, mezcal, raicilla, sotol, Casa Dragones blanco, bacanora, and more, so you may want to have a snack before hand. But worry not: sips are paired with regionally appropriate bites, such as mole or chocolate from Oaxaca.
"I explain the history of each agave and the spirits within, so guests also get a unique perspective and knowledge of Mexico," says Hernandez.
Beyond the Agave Study, Waldorf Astoria Los Pedregal is a wonderful place for mezcal and tequila lovers. On a recent visit, I found a special, limited-edition Day of the Dead bottle of Clase Azul tequila waiting for me in my room, meant for guests to take home. Hernandez says the property is working on some more exclusive tequilas.