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“More than just Mezcal”

Mezcal Educational Tours - Distillery Single Day Excursion
Ranked #2 of 42 Tours in Oaxaca
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Mezcal Educational Excursions of Oaxaca offers spirits aficionados visits into the hills of Oaxaca's central valleys and beyond, of one to four days in length. Learn, photograph, sample, discuss. We visit distilleries using clay pot production, traditional copper stills and more modern facilities. Inquire regarding our expertise, testimonials, etc. Ask about our group weeklong packages where you learn not only about mezcal and pulque, but also Oaxacan cuisine, craft beer and pairings with food, chocolate, etc.
Brooklyn, New York
Level Contributor
16 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“More than just Mezcal”
Reviewed 16 June 2014

We visited Oaxaca in December 2013. We had heard that Oaxaca was the mezcal capital of the world and no trip to the region would've been complete without at least a taste of mezcal. But we wanted something different from what the many bus tours were offering, so we did a bit of research and found Alvin. We booked a day with him and we're so glad we did as it turned out to be the highlight of our trip. Alvin took us on a customized tour off several distilleries. The tour was well thought out. If you love learning about process and appreciate the nuances of distillation, look no further than Alvin. His knowledge of the liquor is second to none. By the end of the tour, we saw all the main methods and ingredients used in making mezcal. This is not to say that if you have no interest in the distillation process that you wouldn't enjoy the tour as really, the best part was getting to see a very different side of Mexico not seen by most tourists. Over the years, Alvin's befriended many Oaxacans and it's wonderful that he's been able to turn that into something for the rest of us to appreciate. We loved it that we got to visit an elderly individual who made mezcal in her own home, met with palenqueros who've been distilling for generations, and folks that spoke to each other not in Spanish but in Zapoteca. We had an exceptional day with Alvin. If there's one tour you must take while in Oaxaca, do not pass up on the chance to go with Alvin.

Visited December 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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284 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Los Angeles, California
1 review
“Mezcal on the Mind”
Reviewed 6 May 2014

I happened upon this tour from a random google search and wouldn't have guessed it would have yielded such an incredible day. What I thought would be a fun time, tasting authentic mezcals and getting out of the city center to some local palenques, quickly turned into something far more interesting and educational. Their knowledge was top caliber and I quickly felt what knowledge I had of mezcal was going to be increased tenfold. That being said, you don't have to be a buff to enjoy the tour. Along with our friends' wedding at Santo Domingo de Guzmán, this was the highlight of our week in Oaxaca.

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
Thank Sean S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oaxaca, Mexico
1 review
“Interesting, Informative and Fun”
Reviewed 30 April 2014

Alvin Starkman doesn't like to use the word 'expert' especially when he's referring to himself… but that's what he is when it comes to Mezcal. I took his tour recently and I not only enjoyed it but learned more about Mezcal than I could retain. We visited no less than 4 distilleries ranging from primitive clay and copper distilleries to modern operations that produce large quantities of Mezcal.

Alvin is very personable and all the folks he introduced us to were friendly and eager to share their livelihoods with us. I highly recommend letting Alvin share this essential part of Oaxacan culture with you when you come to Oaxaca.

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
Thank SteveWebster2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Portland, Oregon
1 review
“Mezcal Momentum”
Reviewed 14 April 2014

I own a business in Portland, Oregon called Mezcal Cena that offers private dinners with mezcal tastings. I know a little about mezcal and Mexican food and culture. I used to live in Mexico and recently returned to Oaxaca to learn more.
Alvin Starkman was highly recommended to me by two different friends as a resource for learning about mezcal and visiting some of its producers. We spent the day together travelling around the hills and deserts of Oaxaca visiting palenques and talking about mezcal. Alvin was a very knowledgable resource about many things. He quickly adapted to meet me at my level of knowledge and experience with mezcal and travelling in Mexico. I thoroughly enjoyed our time together and I recommend his services to travelers new to mezcal and mezcal aficionados alike.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
Thank Neal C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Woodbridge, O
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Make the most of your visit to Oaxaca. Call Starkman!”
Reviewed 4 April 2014

In November of 2013 I hosted my weeklong Spirit of Oaxaca: Mezcal and Beer Lovers Cultural Tour and used the services of the Mezcal Educational Excursions of Oaxaca to help me plan and deliver the experience to my group of 16. I cannot say enough about Mezcal Educational Services for anyone who appreciates quality and excellence! It begins and ends with company owner, Alvin Starkman.

Alvin Starkman is an x-Toronto lawyer whose deep passion for anthropology and Mexican culture brought him to Oaxaca over 20 years ago. A resident now for 10 years, Starkman has become one of the best bilingual authorities on the production, processes and degustation of mezcal. His deep understanding has been driven not only by his academic inquisitiveness but, more importantly, by his genuine love of the indigenous people of Oaxaca, and they of him. Starkman’s extensive network among mezcal producers, from the state-of-the art to the truly rustic rural, was impressive if not astounding. The sites we visited and the some of the rare mezcals we sampled gave new meaning to the concept, ‘inside track’! Those of us from last year’s tour are still pinching ourselves. And wanting to go back!

Starkman’s expertise is not limited to mezcal, it should be noted. His net casts very wide because the man himself has a searing passion for all things cultural. Whether your interests include, the culinary arts, history, wood carving, rug weaving, paper making or the ancient fermented beverage ‘pulque’, Starkman will have opinions and insights but more importantly, a ‘Rolodex’ of local contacts (friends really!) who will help take you deep into the amazing culture that makes Oaxaca such a magical place to visit.

Five stars are not enough in this ranking I am delighted to say! I can only suggest that if Oaxaca figures in your travel and/or study plans in the foreseeable future, speak to Starkman and learn for yourself what an exceptional service he provides. Without hesitation, I will most certainly be using Mezcal Educational Services again for the 2014 Spirit of Oaxaca: Mezcal and Beer Lovers’ Cultural Tour. They are the difference!

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Oliver D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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