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.
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.
We brought Adan Jimenez, an agronomist, who lead lectures on new farming applications that will make cultivation of the chili more viable.
The story of Ayuuk captured by Arthur Couvat during a trip to the Sierra Norte Mountains in 2019.
”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
- Ayuuk Margarita
- Ayuuk Old Fashioned