A new mezcal is ready to take on the U.S., and the brand has handpicked Austin for its first market. Introducing Gem&Bolt, a unique mezcal from Oaxaca, Mexico, that incorporates a traditional herb with fabled healing powers.
Founded by childhood friends and artists AdrinAdrina and Elliott Coon, the spirit is inspired by the herb-infused mezcal cocktails the pair was making at a California speakeasy. AdrinAdrina and Coon made the move to Oaxaca — the heart of mezcal production — to immerse themselves in the world of mezcal. With firsthand knowledge of the heritage of mezcal making combined with their creative backgrounds, the founders have created an artistically designed and meticulously made product.
Gem&Bolt is made with Espadín agave and distilled with an herb called damiana. This native plant is often used in traditional Mexican liqueurs and is purported to have curative properties and certain benefits in the bedroom. The result is a sweeter, more approachable mezcal, especially for beginners.
Gem&Bolt has already been served at a few special events and a handful of Mexican venues, but Austin is the first citywide launch.
"Austin resonated with the whole team unanimously from the beginning," Coon tells CultureMap. "For various reasons, it's an accessible city. [Austinites] seem very receptive in general to new information and new ideas. I would say Austin represents a lot of the same sensibilities: As a brand, we're really fun, really art-centric, really design-centric. But we're also raw, kind of renegade, a little rock 'n' roll."
Before tasting your first glass of Gem&Bolt, Coon has a few suggestions on how to enjoy it. "I personally love it neat or on the rocks with only one or two cubes of ice. It's lovely slightly chilled in any case. I find our mezcal so smooth with such a pleasant profile, it really doesn't need anything at all."
That being said, mixers aren't off the table. "The earthiness and roundness that the damiana brings to an already elegantly layered mezcal is great for cocktails too," says Coon. "Gem&Bolt mixes really well with citrus, like fresh grapefruit or mandarin juices — always fresh! — as well as fresh pineapple juice. Additional cocktail elements we love are fresh sprigs of rosemary, sage, or light infusions with serrano and jalapeño pepper."
Gem&Bolt mezcal is available at local institutions Justine's, The Townsend, Mezcaleria Tobala, Odd Duck, and Whisler's, as well as Twin Liquors and Travis Heights Beverage World. After Austin, the company has its eyes on spreading to Los Angeles this summer and New York in the fall.
Gem&Bolt is hosting a launch party at Whisler's on Thursday, June 16, to give Austinites a first taste of its unique mezcal.