Mesh and Bone – In Discovery of New Spirits
Discovering the epic unknown in the liquor and spirits world is what Mesh and Bone is about. Have you ever wondered what locals around the world consider their favorite food or drink. If you are lucky enough to be invited to join them at their favorite hangout, whether it be a tavern, bistro, or their flat, you will more than likely be in for a very pleasant surprise. Stepping out of your comfort zone is how you learn to experience the world. Being open to new experiences, new tastes, is how you really get to know a new culture.
Just think of all the new craft beers, liquors and small batch wineries you have found in your immediate area. Remember how you felt when you first discovered that new drink and how you couldn’t wait to share it with your cronies? Every area, be it your city, state, country or another country has their favorite local dish or beverage. Difference is what makes us unique. Sharing these differences is what brings us together. Sharing stories over food and drink is what makes strangers our new best friends. Friends we cherish for years to come.
I had the opportunity to meet Scott Crist, the founder and owner of Mesh and Bone and find out about his company during the 2017 San Antonio Cocktail Conference. Scott came to San Antonio and the SACC to kick-off his line of distinct spirits and introduce them to anyone who would stop by for a taste and a chat. Word of mouth exposure is always the best!
During his last 20 years while traveling abroad Scott spent much of his time in discovery mode. He wanted to go “off the beaten path” so to speak and find out where and what the locals eat and drink. He was literally blown away with the liquors he was introduced to. So pleased with his finds, he started collecting bottles to take back to his home in the US and share with friends. Crist soon realized he had collected a portfolio of unusual spirits consisting of four outstanding liquors. His apartment soon became known as the Mesh Lab for impromptu tastings. It was here that Mesh became an acronym for “making epic shit happen”.
Mesh and Bone is dedicated to seeking out and discovering hidden gems from around the world. Spirits that are the pride of their country or region of origin and are unheard of and unavailable anywhere else. The current Mesh and Bone portfolio includes what they refer to as the Fab Four:
Cidre – from Normandy made from naturally fermented apples & pears grown in Northern France. This refreshing drink is gently effervescent and is balanced between sweet and tart with nice complexity. Very different from American cider.
Arakku – a spirit distilled from hand-harvested coconut flower sap in Sri Lanka. This spirit is fermented and distilled then aged 15 years in halmilla hardwood barrels. The lengthy barrel aging gives it the richness and complexity of a nicely aged rum or mellow whiskey. This liquor shows a smooth, clean taste and is best over ice or served straight.
Sotol – distilled similar to tequila, this liquor is wild harvested by hand in the deserts of Chihuahua, Mexico from the sotol plant, not from the agave plant. It takes one 15 year old plant to make one bottle of sotol. This spirit is smooth with a grassy aroma similar to tequila but with less bite. Sotol is 100% USDA certified organic.
Shochu – this exceptional spirit was found in Kyushu, Japan. Made by a 228-year-old distillery Shochu is formulated from barley, two special strains of koji (active yeast culture) and Hita spring water. Hita water is famous throughout Japan for its purity. This liquor is akin to vodka yet contains half the calories and has a much more layered flavor.
These first four Mesh and Bone products are already finding their way into bars and restaurants in the US, including many in San Antonio, and are receiving a warm welcome. The time is right for these unique liquors. Mesh and Bone is looking to expand their portfolio of beverages from other areas of the world. Beverages that would fit Mesh and Bone’s label and might get them exposure they otherwise wouldn’t get.
My favorite of the four was the Shochu, by the way. It is what I consider very light and clean tasting yet with a nice character that reflects its base ingredient (barley in this case). It is easy and smooth to drink on the rocks but also blends well with almost anything.
Below are cocktails made from each of these remarkable spirits:
Salt and pepper
2 ounces Mesh & Bone sotol
1 ounce Cointreau
1 ounce fresh-squeezed orange juice
2 ounces lime juice
Orange wedge or lime peel
Rim a glass with salt and pepper and add ice. Fill cocktail shaker with ice, add next 4 ingredients, and shake gently for 10 seconds. Strain into salt-rimmed glass. Garnish with orange wedge or lime peel.
5 ounces Mesh & Bone cidre, chilled
1 ounce blackcurrant liqueur (such as cassis)
Add blackcurrant liqueur to a Champagne flute or coupe. Top with chilled cidre.
2 ounces club soda or seltzer
2 ounces Mesh & Bone arakku
1 ounce lime juice
½ ounce orgeat (Frangelico or Amaretto in a pinch)
1 ounce pineapple juice
1 egg white
Thin slice of lime
Add club soda or seltzer to glass and let stand. Combine next 5 ingredients (without ice) in cocktail shaker and shake 10 seconds to make egg white frothy. Then add ice cubes to shaker and shake vigorously 15 seconds. Strain on top of club soda. Foam will thicken as it stands. Garnish with thin slice of lime.
2 cherry or 3 grape tomatoes
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon simple syrup
2 ounces Mesh & Bone shochu
Fresh cracked black pepper
Cherry or grape tomato, halved
Muddle cherry or grape tomatoes in a cocktail shaker. Add lemon juice, simple syrup, shochu, and ice. Shake for at least 15 seconds. Strain over fresh ice in an old fashioned glass or other short tumbler. Add a grind of fresh cracked black pepper. Garnish with skewered tomato halves.