Welcome to Empirical

Free shipping on orders over 100 $USD.

75cl - 43% ABV. - $85

Spirit

Ayuuk

Flavor

Earthy, Dark Red Fruit, Smoky.

Feels like

A hike through the Sierra Norte Mountains. Ayuuk attempts to share the flavor of the landscape, stories of the Mixe farmers, their experiences and the hard work they invest into preserving the tradition of the Pasilla Mixe Chili.

The smoky Pasilla Mixe chili is the sole botanical and the source of all the complexity in Ayuuk. We source it directly from Mixe farmers in the mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico, and macerate it in a spirit made from Danish heritage purple wheat and pilsner malt. After distillation the best fractions are rested in a sherry Oloroso cask, allowing the flavors to infuse and mature with each other, giving a smooth, distinct and savory finish.

We had no idea when we first encountered Pasilla Mixe at the central market of Oaxaca, Mexico that it was the start of something much more involved. We only began to realize the complexity after we had distilled the first Pasilla Mixe blend and tried to get more.

With the help of a local academic, we managed to set up a meeting with the Mixe farmers who live high in the Sierra Norte mountains outside of Oaxaca. In their native tongue, they call themselves Ayuuk, meaning “people who speak the mountain language.”

For them, the Pasilla Mixe chili is an important part of the culinary heritage and identity.

To watch the video you need to accept both statistic and marketing cookies.

00:15

However, cultivation is extremely labor-intensive: high altitudes, soil erosion, pests and the daunting terrain make everything difficult.

As a result, production has diminished over the years and they’ve shifted to subsistence farming, producing only what they need for themselves and their families.

There are five thousand people in the village and one fifth of them used to farm Pasilla Mixe; there were only eight farmers left the first time we met them.

There’s a parallel between this relationship and Lars' background as a chef: on his days off, he would often visit farmers and purveyors to better understand their methods and how to use their products. Being more connected to our producers—to their stories, their experiences, and their processes—is an extremely positive thing. There’s a natural symbiosis that keeps us all pushing forward.

We brought Adan Jimenez, an agronomist, who lead lectures on new farming applications that will make cultivation of the chili more viable.

One of the things we were trying to get across was that the Pasilla Mixe and their farming is of great value and that needs to be recognized. We brought a few bottles of the spirit to connect their work to ours. Word got out that Lars was the guy who made chili spirits: he had to start carrying around Ayuuk in his backpack for all those that wanted to try it.

The story of Ayuuk captured by Arthur Couvat during a trip to the Sierra Norte Mountains in 2019.

To watch the video you need to accept both statistic and marketing cookies.

04:29

Customer reviews

”Ayuuk is a profoundly beautiful spirit, which takes me back to Oaxaca (where I’ve lived and studied Spanish), with many mezcal-like tones from the chiles, but met with its delicious graininess, chocolate notes, and other aspects.”

– Brian, USA

"I'm more of a food lover, but I know what booze I like and Ayuuk, the
only one I tried so far, is really amazing."

- Stefano, Italy

How to Drink Ayuuk

Ayuuk & Ginger Ale

Ingredients

  • 3cl Ayuuk
  • 3cl sweet vermouth
  • 0.5cl Luxardo Maraschino
  • 0.3cl Branca Menta
  • 1 dash Peychaud´s bitter
  • Lemon zest for garnish

Method

  • Pour the desired amount of Ayuuk in a glass over large ice cubes.
  • Top up with ginger ale and mix.
  • Add a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of flaky sea salt.
  • Finish with a cucumber ribbon.

Ayuuk Margarita

Ingredients

  • 5cl Ayuuk
  • 2cl dry Curaçao
  • 2cl lime Juice
  • Salt & black lime rim

Method

  • Pour Ayuuk, orange liqueur and lime juice into a shaker.
  • Add ice and hard shake.
  • Rim glass with lime wedge then coat with salt and black lime mix.
  • Add ice into the glass. Fine strain.
By Sasha Wijidessa

Ayuuk Old Fashioned

Ingredients

  • 6cl Ayuuk
  • 0.8cl sugar syrup (2:1)
  • 2 dashes Xocolatl Mole Bitters by Bittermens
  • Pasilla mixe chili or orange zest for garnish

Method

  • Add Ayuuk, Sugar Syrup and Bitters to your rocks glass.
  • Add ice and stir until sufficiently diluted.
  • Garnish with a Pasilla Mixe chili or an orange zest.
By Chris Stewart, Head of Research & Development

Random blend across time and space.

Soundboks Friendly,

by Shin, Distiller