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Twin Cities Market Ready to Revel in New Spirits Company

- by Mecca Bos What do you get when you toss together Micah McFarlane of homegrown reggae band Ipso Facto, a fledgeling agave plantation situated in Morelos Mexico, Nick Kosevich of Bittercube Bitters, and serious showing of the Northstar Bartender's Guild, shaking cocktails for 100 journalists on a rainy afternoon at the Dakota?

Mecca Bos

A hundred tipsy journalists for sure, but also the introduction of Revel "Avila" spirit to the Twin Cities market. A product being touted as having "the same foundation" as tequila, labeled differently thanks to the non-traditional geography of the Weber blue agave plantation, high in the mountainous region of Morelos, rather than any of the other five regions of Mexico that can only produce the spirit we all know, love, and often times hate.

McFarlane and his partner Jacqui Thompson came upon Hector Ruiz and his family's plantation while traveling, fell in love with what they considered to be a vastly superior product, and made a partnership with local spirits distributor Johnson Brothers to introduce the product to market.

Kosevich, in signature natty dress and sense of humor, partnered with his bartending team to showcase the spirit's versatility: blanco, reposado and anejo each exhibiting their distinctive flavor and scent markers. From a fruity punch to the "Witty Extravagant," something akin to an Old Fashioned, the "Naked Ballerina #2," a summertime sipper in a flute, to "By a Thread" a dry, icy, dirty low note lowball that could be liked by any imbiber at all. Each cocktail was enhanced with Bittercube bitters.

Revel spirits, photo courtesy of Mecca Bos

Ruiz was on hand to deliver details about the product. Believe it or not, he says, the family began growing the agave in order to produce insulin, but ultimately could not become certified for the product to go onto the pharmaceutical market. So, he says, "Plan B? Make alcohol."

He says the alkaline soil in the mountainous area where a group of families has been producing these agave for about 15 years could by some be considered superior, as they have not been depleting the soil as other companies have, some in operation for more than 100 years. He claims they've been approached by Jose Cuervo and other large spirits companies, but says they prefer to stay small, fair-trade, organic and artisanal.

Revel is available online and at select bars and restaurants including Eat Street Social (of which Kosevich is a part-owner), The Dakota and Parlour. Minneapolis is one of only two markets where the spirit will be sold. It is 80 proof, triple distilled, and made with 100% pure agave. It retails for $55.50 to $92 per bottle.