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Review: Jim Cramer has gone into the mezcal business (and we sampled his brand) – News Opener

The bottle

Fósforo mezcal — Tobalá ($99)  and Tobalá Penca ($130)

The back story

We all know Jim Cramer for his “Mad Money” stock picks — and for his occasional bell-ringing appearances at the New York Stock Exchange. Now, we’re getting to see another side of the stock-market maven — namely, as a mezcal producer.

Cramer is the latest boldface name to go into the business of making Mexico’s hotter-than-hot (at least of late) smoky sip. Other celebrity-connected mezcal brands include Dos Hombres (from the “Breaking Bad” team of Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul), Lobos 1707 (Lebron James) and Tres Papalote (Cheech Marin). In Cramer’s case, the idea came from a true passion for the spirit, at least according to his wife Lisa Detwiler, who serves as creative director of the brand. We spoke to her about the drink.

“My husband is a mezcal fanatic,” she explained, noting that the couple has a place in Mexico and discovered the agave-based spirit several years ago when visiting a restaurant. “Jim had been a Scotch drinker and he made the switch that night,” Detwiler added.

It was only a matter of time before the couple decided Cramer’s passion could be a financial opportunity. They tried mezcals from different producers until they find a mezcal maker (or mezcalero) they particularly liked — Aarón Alva Sánchez, who represents the fourth generation in his family to be in the business.

The resulting brand is noteworthy in different ways, Detwiler explained. For starters, it is sourced from Puebla, a Mexican locale that is relatively new to the mezcal scene. Plus, the spirit is made from the tobalá variety of agave — not the more common espadin one. Tobalá mezcal, described as a “fan favorite” by one mezcal authority, is known for being sweeter — or, at least, more approachable. “You really get a different taste,” Detwiler said.

Cramer and Detwiler have other partners in their mezcal venture, Detwiler said, adding that the total investment in the brand is in the seven-figure range. Is it as good a bet as some of Cramer’s top stock picks? Only time will tell.

What we think about it

This is indeed about as easy sipping as mezcal gets. While I still picked up the tell-tale smoky/charcoal-y notes in the Tobalá bottle, that was tamed by beguiling hints of sugar and butter — almost like a mezcal designed for accompanying a dessert. The Penca bottle, made with a special production method, upped the buttery factor considerably. In all, two winning sips.

How to enjoy it

I’d have this mezcal neat — it doesn’t cry out for anything more. But Detwiler said it can also be poured over ice or used in cocktails (think a mezcal Negroni) as well.

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