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The Secret Science of Agave Spirits

  • Museum of Food and Drink 62 Bayard Street Brooklyn, NY, 11222 United States (map)

Tequila, mezcal, and raicilla are complex and diverse spirits from Mexico that have left liquor enthusiasts struggling to understand classic botany, including species phylogeny, nomenclature, and biogeography. Ample research on these topics has been a focus of many scientists in Mexico, but is in limited availability to bartenders who want to quickly learn about what it is they are working with and how to evaluate the rarity and sustainability of the spirits.  In addition, traditional knowledge systems shared among farmers and harvesters making the spirits themselves offer a different and elusive perspective of agave botany.

Los Angeles botanist Rachel Meyer—Executive Director of the University of California Conservation Genomics Consortium and co-owner of Shoots and Roots Bitters—will discuss what is known about the different methods of production, and align various research and knowledge systems to ask "how might these beautiful traditions change as our planet does?"

Guests will enjoy some of these delicious distillates, along with a science-laden cocktail graciously designed by Don Lee of Booker and Dax made with Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal provided by Pernod Ricard.

This program is part of our Wild Foods and Spring Spirits 2018 series.

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About Rachel Meyer

Rachel Meyer is Executive Director of the University of California Conservation Genomics Consortium and her research is on crop evolution and the interplay between humans and the environment. She specializes in the evolution of food, particularly eggplants in Asia and African rice. Rachel works to show you every plant with an adaptation that leads to flavorful or medicinal properties, and explains how it came about in the first place.

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About Shoots and Roots Bitters

Science is at the core of the Shoots & Roots approach to identify, source, extract, blend, and disseminate botanicals for our botanical blends. We host workshops on the botany, chemistry, ecology and cultural use of plants in our botanical blends to enhance your learning experience.

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About Booker and Dax

Booker and Dax is a food science development company dedicated to inventing culinary products of the highest quality. Headed by MOFAD Founder Dave Arnold, the Booker and Dax Lab focuses on finding solutions to real world food, beverage, and cooking issues.

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About Pernod Ricard

Forty years ago, Paul Ricard and Jean Hémard founded Pernod Ricard. The two partners set out to take on the world, with the ambitious goal of one day becoming the global leader in the sector. Pernod Ricard is now the world’s second-largest wine and spirits company. Faithful to their role as “Créateurs de Convivialité”, the people at Pernod Ricard aim to ensure that each of the company’s brands are present to enhance these convivial occasions.


*Ticket Refund Policy: Full refund with 48 hours notice, 50% refund with 24 hours notice, and no refund with less than 24 hours notice.

Earlier Event: May 3
The Language of Flavor in Honey
Later Event: May 17
2018 MOFAD Spring Gala