FanSided MMA was in Oaxaca, Mexico to tour Jorge Masvidal's Recuerdo distillery and here's what we learned.
Jorge Masvidal returns to the Octagon on Saturday for the first time since his loss to Colby Covington in March 2022. Masvidal, who has already hinted at a possible retirement, is riding the longest losing streak of his legendary career (three) when he steps in to fight Gilbert Burns in Miami.
Fans of Masvidal probably already know about his Recuerdo Mezcal which he helped bring to the United States in 2020. The brand, made in Oaxaca, Mexico recently welcomed FanSided MMA to its factory to learn about how mezcal is made, what makes Recuerdo different, and much more.
Here are a few of the things we learned.
How is mezcal made?
We had the pleasure of watching how mezcal was made both in local distilleries the old-fashioned traditional way and at Recuerdo's massive factory.
Before you can even begin to think about making mezcal, you first have to plant the agave. The agave plant which most producers of mezcal made is harvested in a field and grows for six to 20 years. Yep, that's right. You might plant the agave and your children will be the ones to make the mezcal 20 years later. There's also a rare wild plant that can take even longer to mature but that's much more expensive due to its rarity (and quite a bit more delicious).
Once the plant has reached maturity it's harvested. The piña, which is what is cut and cooked can weigh up to 300 pounds The harvesting of it is hard word and often done in sweltering heat. We watched a worker slice the leaves with a gigantic blade with such precision it almost looked like a choreographed dance.
From there it's placed in a large circular pit where it's cooked for several days to release the natural sugars. Then it's pressed into a pulp and placed into the fermentation, first distillation, second distillation, and casking steps. The last step is bottling.
The entire Recuerdo estate includes 4 traditional brick ovens, 27 acres of crops with over 14,000 Espadin agave plants and a greenhouse for agave cultivation and protection.
There's an autographed barrel signed by Jorge Masvidal
In the massive Recuerdo distillery, there's a room with massive ceilings with rows upon rows of barrels of mezcal. While wandering the aisles I spotted a barrel autographed by Masvidal himself complete with an MMA brand and the date Jan. 29, 2019. This isn't something the general public sees, so it's a special treat.
The Recuerdo factory is sprinkled with Jorge Masvidal special touches
There's a bit of a shrine to Masvidal in the factory, which, due to COVID-19 has been closed to the public for years.
In the distillery's gallery, where they display local artists, is an Octagon, the BMF belt, a video package displaying highlights of Masvidal's career and a life sized Masvidal you can do face-off photos with.
Recuerdo helps local farmers grow their own agave plants
One of its initiatives of Recuerdo is helping to maintain the tradition of local families producing their own mezcal. The company donates a section of the farming area, along with supplies, for local farmers to plant their own agave and then come to retrieve it when it's matured.
They even let me plant my own agave seed while I toured the fields.
Recuerdo created a special limited edition bottle in honor of Jorge Masvidal's 5-second KO
When Masvidal came on board Recuerdo invented something new in his honor. The new bottle, which is limited edition, was made in honor of his five-second KO over Ben Askren and features five worms, one for each second of the fight. The worms add more flavor and change the color to a golden hue.
There are three kinds of Recuerdo mezcal, Joven which has no worm, Abocado Con Gusano with one worm and the KO special, with five.