Agave in the Savannah
September 12, 2019
They say being at the right place at the right time is something that should be valued as it is a luxury that is extremely rare.
I happened to go away to a private game reserve focused on game breeding, Mutapa Lodge, located west of Limpopo and close to the Entebeni Golf Course in the Limpopo region of South Africa. Yellow Gemsbok, Golden Wildebeest, Black Impala, and other grass-feeding animals are some of the exotic wildlife that you would find there. This biome of the area is classified predominantly as the savanna that Africa is all too synonymous with. I had conveniently packed the 4th Rabbit 100% Karoo agave spirit to open and enjoy under the African sun, bush, and wildlife. Creating a very similar setting as to where 4th Rabbit is grown and distilled, the Karoo in the Western Cape.
One thing about myself is that I am a sucker for history and when I discovered the historical and traditional handcraftsmanship that 4th Rabbit follows in line with the authentic Mezcal methodology which is produced in Mexico. I was extremely eager to taste the 100% Karoo agave spirit. Legally it cannot be referred to as a Mezcal as Mezcal can only be labelled to spirits produced in Mexico. Similar to Champagne which is made in Champagne, France.
The familiar bold, smokey flavour of other Karoo agave spirits is there as soon as you open the bottle. Diving a bit deeper into your senses, it evokes a very woody, fiery smell that you can almost taste which is a result of its method of production and distillation. The agave plants are harvested by hand where the heart is extracted. The heart of the agave plant is referred to as the ‘piña’. The piña’s are quartered and placed in a stone-lined pit where a fire has been lit, left to burn out, and has heated the stones before placing the piñas. The piña’s are then covered with leaves and earth where they are left to slow cook for 7-12 days. The sugars can now be extracted once the slow cooking process has been completed and the cooked agave heart is then placed in wooden fermenting vats which helps create a more natural fermentation process as opposed to the small copper pot still distillation method.
You will taste that stone; wooden barrel; and especially that fiery pit as if you were there in the distillation process. It is a great summer drink to enjoy under the African sun as it gives you that earthy feeling which is how it was kept and where the magic of the African soil and agave piña started their enchantment process. I preferred to enjoy it more as a cocktail served very chilled or as a drink with a simple mix and ice. I recommend the Fitch and Leeds Cheeky Cranberry flavour with a cut of fresh Rosemary. It was a perfect setting for an earthy African agave drink out in the wild where it all began.
Written by Leo Da Silva for Luxuria Lifestyle South Africa