cecilia rios murrieta

mexico city, 1985

entrepreneur (with a singer’s soul)

founder of la niña del mezcal

interview by: Constanza posadas

The earth called me. My grandfather was a farmer and in some way I’ve always had the idea of living in the countryside. I always regretted not growing up there. And now that I’m here, I’ve somehow come back.

I live, breathe, and dream mezcal. I’ve always loved politics and I love to sing, but today, mezcal is what I think about when I go out, when I wake up, when I think about what I’m going to eat.

I was discovering myself when I started to learn about mezcal. It was a way to make sense of things and to find my identity as a woman and as a Mexican. I deciphered who I am through mezcal.

First it was Oaxaca and then mezcal, but when I got close to the city, the palenques and the mezcalero families, I fell in love with the spirit and its tradition. So I took it upon myself to share it and do what I could for it to grow.

When my company was just a concept and La Niña del Mezcal was a blog, I documented my journeys to Oaxaca and I shared what I was learning. Little by little, the producers began to approach me to work with them and soon began the relationships with different families, traditions, and projects that are now part of the future of La Niña del Mezcal.

We met Maria in a quesadilla stand. She overheard me speaking to my mother about mezcal and told us that her father produced a delicious Madrecuixe. With that promise, we hopped in the car and drove, following the instructions of a stranger. Mezcal is also trust. We are now developing a strategy with Maria to plant agaves.

A woman and a foreigner… it was not an easy sip for many. It didn’t sit right with many that a woman, and a foreigner to Oaxaca, got involved in this, but I have invested my time and my energy and I have learned. Besides, I am persistent and impulsive and that has led me to learn, understand and discover more and more about mezcal. And about life.

Accepting timing, that is what agave teaches you. I have learned to be patient and to filter, because as much as I would like something to happen, as with maguey, there is a time for everything.

We should be open to the possibilities, that is part of the magic of mezcal. Perhaps there is one that you didn’t like, but you can never say no to the next one. Even if you love one type of mezcal in particular, you have to try more, because each one is different and that richness is what makes you keep trying: I go where mezcal takes me. You have to try them all: falling in love with mezcal is an endless journey.

I’ve always been a fan of the classics, and even though I love to move, travel, and change, espadin agave is my favorite. It is the epitome of mezcal: smoky, critic, sweet, spicy, herbal. It is also easy to sip.

When you eat and drink, you feel. This is an industry of passions, tastes, joys, and personalities. Furthermore, mezcal has something peculiar that adapts to the temperament of everybody: there is one for each taste, for each style. It has something that makes it conciliatory and it dilutes generational gaps.

Plop! From the sound your hear by opening the bottle, I get excited because mezcal is very personal. The legends and stories of each maestro mezcalillero or each brand make it very intimate and it is that essence that I’m interested in preserving. When you sip a glass of mezcal, you are taking in someone else’s history. History in a glass.