Alipus San Baltazar is distilled by hand by Don Cosmé Hernandez and his son Cirilo.


Don Cosmé’s destilería is located in San Baltazar Guélavila (pop. 3,897) about an hour and a half south of Oaxaca City. The altitude is 5203 feet, and the terrain is hilly, leading up to mountains to the west.

Don Cosmé (here with his wife Cristina) and Cirilo produce mezcals with a signature softness.

The San Baltazar mill. Note that it’s starting to break up: the stone needs occasionally to be replaced.

One of the fermentation vats (tinas). Note the wire holding it together

one of two stills

one of two stills

Pedro Hernandez, Cirilo’s uncle, sealing the still with the fibrous solids (bagasso) from an earlier run.

A lot of distillation is waiting, keeping an eye on the fire and on the stream of distillate coming from the still.

Pitchforking out the bagasso, the fibers left over after the distillation run

Steam rising from the condensation tank.


Like many of Oaxacan family destilerías. this one is part of the house. We’re in the back yard, tasting next to the woodpile. The next generation of distillation is staring at the camera

In the San Baltazar cimeteria

In the San Baltazar cimeteria