Once upon a time, avid surfer Judah Kuper and his longtime friend Dylan Sloan traveled down to Oaxaca in search of the perfect wave. But when it was time to head back home from their trip, Judah had fallen so head over heels for the place that he decided to stick around. Fate soon came knocking when Judah suddenly came down with an ear infection that landed him in the waiting room of a local clinic. As he sat there waiting with an earful of pain, suddenly walked out a nurse by the name of Valentina who instantly took his breath away and stole his heart. It was right there and then that he decided this woman would be the mother of his children.

Shortly after that, Judah decided to open up a small beachside bar while Dylan frequently came down to help out. During this time, they became well-acquainted with and grew a large interest in the region’s agave spirit known as mezcal. Well, luck would have it that Valentina’s father was a local mezcalero who produced high quality artisanal mezcals. Judah became very fascinated with the idea of producing mezcal and learning the business. Valentina’s father decided to teach him the ropes until soon enough he and Dylan teamed up yet again and began exporting Oaxaca’s finest undiscovered mezcals under the name Mezcal Vago. And for us spirit and cocktail lovers, the rest is history.

Nestled deep in the mountains of southern Oaxaca, Mezcal Vago produces some of the world’s greatest mezcals on the market. Working hand in hand with his father-in-law, they also collaborate with several other local mezcaleros using a variety of agave species. All of their mezcals are produced in the joven (young) style in order to maintain the purist agave expression. Each one of their unique bottlings are naturally made in a traditional palenque, never blended and with no additives.

As an added bonus for those of us enjoying Mezcal Vago, on the front label of each bottle is a complete breakdown of what went into that spirit: the agave, the mezcalero, the pueblo, the production process, the batch size and even the fermentation date. No secrets to hide here. Just truly artisanal, handmade expressions of the land, the history, and the people.

Judah and his new family continue to enjoy the splendors, and hard work, of working with their local community in creating what some might consider the world’s best mezcal. And with another recent addition to the family, Judah and Valentina are now the proud parents of their baby daughter Ami. It all started with a surfing trip, and now this story proves that it’s not only in fairytales that you can live happy ever after.


Pts 97

This cowboy lassos you in with mouthwatering aromas of smoked bark, pine, red bell pepper and earthy agave. Its ultra-smooth texture brings about a nice crisp acidity along with flavors of cinnamon, black pepper and a long nutty finish.  –JA



Pts 98

Scrumptiously infused with toasted corn, this enticing bottling expresses scents of laelia flowers, tobacco leaf, smoked corn and a distinct backbone of minerality. Full bodied with a charming hint of sweetness, it continues to ‘wow’ you on the palate with notes of acacia, papaya and menthol on the finish. –JA