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The Bronx Brewery & Ilegal Mezcal Launch Side Hustle Seltzerita

The Bronx Brewery and Ilegal Mezcal announced a limited-release, mezcal margarita-inspired collab that brings the two NYC-based brands together to create a new kind of hard seltzer – Side Hustle Seltzerita, a 7% ABV hard seltzer bursts with grapefruit, lime and bravo hops, with bright mezcal flavor from aging with Ilegal oak staves.

The seltzer officially launches on May 7, with a joint event in The Bronx Brewery’s Backyard. Paying homage to both brands’ spiritual centers, the night will combine the unique experience from both The Backyard and Ilegal’s Café No Sé, in Guatemala. The musical lineup will feature DJ Mickey Perez, Jeremy Bosch Sextet and DJ Rich Kidd, along with special guests, food and drink activations and more.

“We have always been fans of Bronx Brewery at Ilegal, so we were immediately excited when they approached us about the collaboration,” said Kaylan Rexer, Chief Marketing Officer at Ilegal Mezcal. “There are so many crossovers in how both brands value music, art, and community. The can itself is a beautiful piece of artwork that represents the sharing of cultures. Plus, the product tastes delicious!”

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Category on the Rise: Mezcal

“People are looking for quality products with authentic stories and transparency in brand values,” says Kaylan Rexer, the chief marketing officer at Ilegal Mezcal. “You don’t get a more hand-crafted, quality product than artisanal mezcal.”

As 2021 progresses, Rexer predicts a bright future for the mezcal category. “We see consumer interest in mezcal and in premium agave spirits continuing to grow in the coming years,” she says. “We are forecasting growth not just in our major markets but across the country. Mezcal will be a staple on every cocktail menu and off-premise retail shelf.”

Part of this will be integrating the spirit into classic, mezcal-friendly cocktails like the margarita and Paloma. To help propel the trend and encourage at-home engagement with the spirit, Ilegal recently introduced margarita kits for retail and e-commerce sales, and launched a direct-to-consumer website.

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Stay Curious With Dewar’s Latest Cask Finished Whiskies

Brian Cox, Dewar’s VP of Marketing: “Ilegal Smooth is the first of its kind in terms of a mezcal finished blended Scotch whisky, and we wanted to use that moment to reflect the category’s progressive, new face while also inviting new whisky appreciators to discover this partnership.

It also showcased the commonalities between the founders of Ilegal Mezcal and Dewar’s Scotch whisky: having this passion for creating something new on an ambitious scale while delivering the very best ultra-premium smooth spirit. And Ilegal Mezcal is unique and special amongst Mezcals – a great product and wonderful brand too.”

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13 Easy-To-Make Mezcal Cocktails For Winter 2020

“Oaxaca is known for mezcal—but it’s also known for chocolate, and they play wonderfully together. Hot chocolate is so comforting in the colder months, especially this holiday season when socially distanced gatherings are outside. Spicing it up with mezcal gives it a slight peppery and earthy element, which balances the richness and subtle sweetness of Organic Mixology’s dark chocolate and sea salt liqueur. Mr. Black’s single-origin coffee liqueur adds a little bitterness and a caffeine kick, while the orange bitters offers a dash of citrus to round out the cocktail. Twenty-twenty has been a rough year and I think everyone could use a hug.” —Claire Mallett, bartender at Catch One, Los Angeles

“This is a fun twist on classic michelada—with a touch yuzu and black pepper, it gives the drink a nice citrus and smoky note. It’s easy to make and also very easy to drink.” — GN Chan, founder at Double Chicken Please, New York City

Follow the link to see these recipes and more!

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Essential Workers: Drink Pros Bring Hospitality to the Pandemic Front Lines

When Herminio Torres, a senior marketing manager for Ilegal Mezcal, heard that staff at the Bronx’s Lincoln Medical Center was surviving 20-hour shifts on peanut butter and jelly, he teamed up with his brother Alejandro, owner of Brooklyn’s El Gallo Taqueria, and delivered burritos to the medics. Thus was born HospUnited. In three months, Torres dropped off 25,000 meals (mostly donated by restaurants) to workers at seven New York medical facilities. Ilegal Mezcal helped fund and market the effort as well.

In June, with the ebb of New York City’s coronavirus curve, Torres morphed HospUnited into a new organization, Humans4, partnering with the non-profit Mixteca Organization to feed Brooklyn’s undocumented Latinx population. It’s work informed by his own background. “I’m a first-generation Mexican-American. My parents immigrated here in the late 1980s. We knew what struggle was like,” says Torres. “I have a job. I am not struggling, and I feel a moral obligation to do something.” 

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The 12 best mezcal brands you need to try, according to experts

Distilled by fourth-generation mezcaleros in the state of Oaxaca, Ilegal Mezcal is all about sustainability and producing 100% natural mezcal. Ilegal Mezcal produces in small batches, hand-corking and hand-labeling each bottle. 

Their Joven product is un-aged and full bodied with light smoke and is flexible enough for cocktails, but has enough personality to be sipped on its own. You’ll find hints of green apple, fresh citrus, eucalyptus, and red chiltepe peppers.

“A beautiful introduction mezcal, Ilegal Mezcal Joven is wonderful in cocktails,” said Freddie Sarkis, chief cocktail officer at Liquor Lab in New York City. “It’s lighter on smoke than others, but not absent from it. The company practices a lot of advocacy with a long list of nonprofits and NGOs in the realm of LGBTQ, environmental conservation, immigration, and others.

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Dewar’s Debuts World’s First Mezcal-Finished Scotch Whisky

“Our mezcal is not overpowering,” explains John Rexer, founder of Ilegal, the mezcal brand responsible for the collaboration. “The full flavor of the agave comes through as a result of how we roast and shave it after we pick it out of the oven. The absence of burnt agave or anything that’s overly smoked or caramelized allows the real agave flavor to come through, and when you marry that with a beautiful Scotch you get something that is extraordinary.”

For this project, Rexer says he emptied out an entire cave of casks, sending 400 barrels that formerly held Ilegal Mezcal Reposado and Anejo to the heart of the Scottish highlands. On the opposite end of the pond, Stephanie Macleod received them with a combination of excitement and curiosity. The master blender for Dewar’s had never used mezcal casks before. She had to nose every barrel individually before any of the scotch could even enter them, to make sure that nothing was compromised on the lengthy journey from Mexico.

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Ilegal Mezcal Appoints Four Women To Executive Board

Press - Bevnet

Ilegal has announced that they have hired and promoted women as the COO, CMO, VP of trade marketing and trade marketing manager, all working hard to maintain the brand’s position as one of the leading small-batch artisanal mezcals on the market. Members Michelle Ivey, Kaylan Rexer, Trish Mannion and Kelsey Grandi, respectively, now make up over half of the executive leadership board.

Ilegal is one of the leading, small batch artisanal mezcals on the US market. It is made from 100 percent espadin agave and comes in three representations: Joven, Reposado Anejo. Ilegal was created in 2004 out of founder John Rexer’s bar, Café No Sé in Antigua. While its roots are in Guatemala, Ilegal is produced in Oaxaca, Mexico with headquarters in Brooklyn, New York.

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Ilegal Mezcal’s Kaylan Rexer Says This Unexpected Ingredient Should Be Your Secret Cooking Weapon

As the brand director behind the politically active and socially conscious Mezcal brand, Ilegal Mezcal, Kaylan Rexer is responsible for starting movements. From creating the “Donald Eres Un Pendejo” campaign in protest of U.S. president Donald Trump to throwing benefit concerts for Planned Parenthood, Rexer has proven that she’s a force to be reckoned with not only in the alcohol business, but also in her community.

So, it makes sense that her favorite food would also have a reputation for supplying a kick. The one food Rexer could never live without? Chilis (and Mezcal, of course).

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This Mezcal Brand is Taking on Trump & Redefining Drinking Responsibly

Press - Coveteur

Responsible drinking has always meant the same for me as it does for everyone else: not over-consuming and never driving (and, of course, any other socially unacceptable behavior). But it was only after a trip to Oaxaca with a mezcal brand (don’t call it the new tequila, but its cooler, smoky cousin best served straight up), Ilegal Mezcal, that I realized responsible drinking was more than just about consumption—the source matters, too.