Agua Mágica has launched an ensamble as its first mezcal. Founded by an all-Mexican team, Agua Mágica embraces Oaxaca’s rich, artisanal history while aiming to recontextualize mezcal consumption occasions and empower the mezcaleros and community behind the agave elixir.
“From my upbringing in Mexico, with close ties to Oaxaca, and through my career analyzing the Latin American spirits market, I noticed mezcal’s explosive growth was making the category increasingly commoditized and industrialized,” comments Rafael Shin, Founder of Agua Mágica. “My mission with Agua Mágica is to initiate conversations around redirecting mezcal’s current growth trajectory, through a premiumization and recontextualization of mezcal consumption occasions. To start, we prioritize quality, which is how we can encourage Agua Mágica to be sipped neat. To be able to sip mezcal is to take part in upholding artisanal production practices,” adds Shin.
A romance between exclusively sourced and harvested single-village agaves, espadín and tobalá, provides the backdrop to the Agua Mágica ensamble stemming from the terrain of San Juan del Río. This location is blessed with ideal natural elements for crafting the finest mezcal. The rich soil, sublime weather conditions, fresh river water and high-mountain altitude help the agaves retain less water, increasing their sugar concentration, in turn developing a complex and rich flavor. Agua Mágica’s smooth and flavorful notes lures consumers into enjoying it during moments of introspection, commemoration, and transcendence.
“Agua Mágica is a blend of Espadín and Tobalá that celebrates the traditional process of making mezcal from more than just one agave type,” explains Yana Volfson, Director of Beverages at Cosme and Beverage Consultant to Agua Mágica. “It shows a softer approach to a sipping mezcal with notes of cucumber, melon, and green chili on the palate. It warms as it moves through the body with an uplifting energy for the spirit.”
Agua Mágica strives to contemporize Mexican lore and prehistoric rituals, where mezcal is a celebratory spirit playing a crucial part in all festividades – from weddings to funerals to births. The brand embraces Oaxacan traditions, such as bestowing the responsibility of mayordomo on a fellow party-goer to keep the drinks flowing, through the lens of magical realism. “We want to show the world the beauty of the land as well as the roots and customs that accompany mezcal. In order to do so, we’ve partnered with locals to narrate the region’s cultural richness in an abstract film,” states Shin.
By investing in small batch producers, Agua Mágica honors them as entrepreneurs, not as manufacturers. Mezcaleros are often faced with increased pressures of delivering at scale, leading to overstimulation of land and industrialization at the expense of their traditional techniques and pricing. Agua Mágica has partnered with maestro mezcalero, Rogelio Juan Hernandez, providing additional resources to grow his palenque and family farm while increasing wages for his team. Additionally, Agua Mágica strives towards broadening opportuni- ties to mezcaleros in Oaxaca through the brand’s “Empowering Mezcaleros” program, by donating 5% of yearly profits to five family-run palenques, helping them with the certification process to sell their mezcal.
Agua Mágica’s inaugural ensamble will be limited to an exclusive 2,000 bottles to continue producing in small batches. The bottle retails for $65 USD and the set, including the bottle and illustrated box, retails for $95 USD. Agua Mágica is available for purchase online at the brand’s official website, select retailers, for delivery through Drizly and Thirstie and can be found on the cocktail menu at Cosme, Atla and Soho House.
Investors of Agua Mágica include founders of leading direct-to-consumer brands and entrepreneurs in lifestyle and hospitality like Jeff Raider (Co-Founder & Co-CEO of Harry’s and Co-Founder of Warby Parker), Dave Gilboa and Neil Blumenthal (Co-Founders & Co-CEOs of Warby Parker), Joey Zwillinger (Co-Founder of Allbirds), Karlie Kloss (Supermodel, Entrepreneur and Founder of Kode With Klossy), Babba Rivera (Founder & CEO of Ceremonia), Hannah Bronfman (Founder of HBFIT) and Penni Thow (Founder & CEO of Copper).