Saturday marks the 20th anniversary of Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal — and to celebrate that event, bars around the world are joining in a special stigibeu honoring Del Maguey founder Ron Cooper.
Stigibeu? Pronounced "stee-gee-BAY-oo,“ it's an ancient Zapotec toast in recognition and thankfulness to the Earth, nature and everyone who came before us, according to spirits educator and consultant Steve Olson, who has worked with Del Maguey for close to 20 years. It's paid off. This year a poll of 100 of the top bartenders around the world designated Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal as the No. 1 trending bar brand.
On Saturday (which the mathematically inclined also know as Pi day, because 3/14/15) at 11 p.m., wherever you are, in whatever time zone, stop and raise a copita of mezcal for Del Maguey's Zapotec farmer-producers who bring us the rough-hewn spirit of agave.
In 1995, Venice artist Ron Cooper imported his first two village mezcals from Chichicapa and San Luis del Rio, named after the Oaxacan villages where they are made. It wasn't so much to start a business, but to secure a steady supply of mezcal for himself and his friends. Fast forward 20 years, and Del Maguey now encompasses 18 different mezcals made from 10 different agave varietals.
Saturday night, 20 mezcal-obsessed bars around the world will be participating, including Las Perlas and the Varnish in downtown Los Angeles, along with ABV and Elixir in San Francisco, PDT and Mayahuel in New York City, Agaveria El Nivel and Cafe Pacifico in London, Dos Agaves in Athens, In Situ in Oaxaca and more.
As the date approaches, more are signing up. As of Wednesday, Olson reports on Del Maguey's Facebook page, “We are now up to 45 bars in 32 cities in 17 states and 5 countries! And by Saturday…?”
Nikki Sunseri, general manager of Las Perlas — the L.A. bar dedicated to agave spirits — plans a big night. "I know we're supposed to cheer," she says. She's also going to knock down the prices on Del Maguey about $3. And she has all of them.
At the Varnish, 213 Nightlife bar director Eric Alperin says they'll probably do a toast to Del Maguey just amongst the staff, since customers will be deep into their cocktails.
But you don't have to go to a bar to celebrate. Raise a glass at home or wherever you are and share photos on Instagram and Twitter using #stigiveinte and tagging @delmagueymezca. That way everybody can party together, virtually.
For more information, go to the Stigi Veinte Facebook page.