The story of Ayuuk begins at the central market in Oaxaca City, Mexico. Amongst the myriad of spices, chocolate, coffee and produce, we were taken by the depth of flavor of one particular chili. Naturally, we cleared out all 20 kilograms of stock, brought it back to Copenhagen and distilled the first Pasilla Mixe spirit.
Pasilla Mixe is a special, smoke-dried chili grown at 2,700 meters above sea level by the Mixe people — known in their native language as Ayuuk. Once fully ripened, the chilis are partially dried on the plant, and finished on wicker racks over gnarled hardwood smoke. The true Pasilla Mixe possesses a twilight, dark red fruitiness and a unique earthiness that reflects the rugged terroir in which it grows.
Our search for more chilis led us to the Sierra Mixe mountains where the Mixe people have maintained their traditional way of life and language for centuries. Here, the Pasilla Mixe is integral to their communal identity although its labor-intensive cultivation has gradually diminished. We’re partnering directly with these farmers to support the longevity of this time-honored tradition — Ayuuk is only the beginning.
For Ayuuk, the chilis are macerated in low wine, distilled, blended with spent Pasilla Mixe kombucha, and finished in Oloroso casks for five days. The base of Purple wheat and Pilsner malt rounds out the chili’s natural earth tones and pleasant spice. – Empirical Spirits