Neta Quiote de Espadin
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Neta Quiote de Espadin

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This experimental batch was made from 120 burgeoning flower stalks, or quiotes, that were cut and collected from seven- and eight-year-old maturing Espadín agaves in July 2023 that were left in the field to be harvested later in the year. The practice of “castrating” the maguey is a truly ancient technique employed to redirect the plant’s energy back into the heart of the agave, increasing the size and sugar content of the piña. While this step represents a hallmark of traditional agave spirits production, it has long been done by peoples reliant upon agave as a primary food source throughout Mesoamerica and the lands of what is now the Southwest United States. Today in Miahuatlán, the quiote itself is generally not used for fermentation and distillation, but still has its place in local gastronomy. Select chunks for the quiote are collected, carefully roasted, and mashed on a stone metate. The sweet fibers and juices are then gathered and mixed with corn dough to create a masa composed of both corn and agave that is used to make a uniquely delicious tostada. As most agave tend to develop their asparagus like flowering stalks during the mid-months of the rainy season, these tostadas de maguey are a seasonal treat generally limited to the months of June-August

This production from Nicolás and his son Miguel was crafted with 1200kg of quiote, using between roughly 2-3ft of the recently sprouted stalk. Having both grown up eating tostadas de maguey and regularly observing both cows and goats with an affinity for eating the quiote right off the agave, they were well away that this bit of “scrap” material was still rich in sugar and full of potential. Curious about what kind of flavors and aromas are contained in just the flowering stalk, Nicolás decided to designate them for this batch, rather than leave the freshly cut quiotes for compost, animal fodder, or even for those special tostadas. Roasted along with other agave in mid-July 2023, these 120 quiotes were processed in fairly normal fashion, requiring three days of dry fermentation before the vat was ready to receive well water. Twice distilled in copper pots, the final composition was done with a mix of heads, hearts, and tails, adjusting until the appearance of a cordon cerrado.

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