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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkEntertainment | Restaurants & Dining 

Los 2 Compadres: Jalisco, Mexico's Sour Mash Whiskey

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February 1, 2013

Located in the small village of Boca de Tomatlan, Jalisco, Los 2 Compadres produces an excellent Single Cask Sour Mash Whiskey, a 'Shine Whiskey,' and a Coffee Liquor - all made using local ingredients.

Boca de Tomatlan, Jalisco, Mexico - We are all familiar with Tequila, Mexico’s most renowned liquor, and the state of Jalisco makes some of the very best in the world; smooth and delicious. But a new beverage has arrived – Sour Mash Whiskey, and in a small fishing village no less!

Walking down to the beaches at Boca de Tomatlan, you pass a few small businesses, homes, and the Los 2 Compadres distillery. Los 2 Compadres is a very small distillery - exceptional at their craft - making a Single Cask Sour Mash Whiskey, a "Shine Whiskey," and a Coffee Liquor.

When you wander into the distillery, the air gets heavy and humid with the smell of fermenting corn. The casks of aging whiskey and "shine" are sitting there just passing the time away. The five fermenting tanks are busy transforming the local Aztecan Maize into the "wash" that will be distilled to make the whiskey.

They are bit unique here, in that they use a 100 percent mash bill [recipe] for their Whiskey. In the center of the room sits the large distilling kettle - stainless steel with bright blue feet - waiting for the next batch to be cooked. Larry Dorwart was on hand to pour us a sample, or two, and gave us the tour.

This is a small local artisan distillery. He gets his heirloom corn from the hills surrounding the little village from a farmer who goes there on mules. The water, an essential component, is perfectly suited for this use. Larry should know, for he refers to a long family tradition of making shine through the years – even during Prohibition. Therefore, when he retired and moved down here, this seemed like the thing to do.

The Cask Whiskey is based on an American Bourbon recipe. As such, some of the prior soured mash is used to get the fermenting started. The tanks also are not sealed, so as to allow the wild natural yeasts in this region to help favor the whiskey.

After being freshly distilled, the liquor goes to the wooden casks to age. They use old French wine barrels - taken apart and charred to their specs. I was intrigued by the nuanced aromatic differences in the casks, depending upon which of the barrels the whiskey was aging in. The color of this young whiskey is obtained, no doubt, by the use of these casks. The whiskey rests in these barrels for year, then is bottled by hand.

Currently Los 2 Compadres produces about 1500 bottles per month but they are getting ready to increase that number and offer a Blended Whiskey as well.

Los 2 Compadres Whiskey is reminiscent of some Kentucky’s lighter bourbons. For me it has definite caramel overtones along with a hint of vanilla and agave essences. I found it to possess a very nice mouth finish, fresh, not heavy but with a light finish consistent with it’s aging. Eminently sippable, I prefer mine just in a snifter. However, on the rocks or with a bit of water added also works.

A small amount of this aged Whiskey is used to blend in their "Gringo Larry’s Shine". This whiskey is aged for a shorter period and much lighter in color. Los 2 Compadres shine is a full favor, but not a harsh biting shine. It feels full in the mouth with lovely warmth as swallowed. Much smoother than other moonshine offerings I have had before.

The much unexpected third offering from them is a delicious coffee-creamed liquor - Licor de Café’ Mexicano. Think Vietnamese coffee - locally grown, dark roasted beans and sweetened condensed milk, combined with their "Shine" to make it 40 proof! Larry’s affection for the cuisine of Vietnam lead him to create this beverage. It is fantastic over ice and a great way to finish a meal.

The Single Cask Whiskey, Gringo Larry’s Shine, and even the Licor de Café’ Mexico are available locally in several bars and restaurants, along with stand he mans at the Saturday Farmer’s Market in Puerto Vallarta.

Photos: William Wilhelm