Alipus San Luis del Rio is distilled by hand by Don Luis Baltazar Cruz.

Don Baltazar’s destilería is located in San Luis del Rio (pop. 526) about three hours south and west of Oaxaca City. The altitude is 3159 feet, and the terrain is an open sloping valley.

The valley is wide, open, and warm. Note the sandy soils. The heat grows agaves with a lot of flavor; the mezcals are richly fruity.

Delivering a batch’s worth of agaves, about seven tons

Roasted espadín

Don Baltazar’s stone mill. The axis of the wheel goes through a ole in a tree trunk mounted on a pivot rod and is held in place by another iron rod.

Two of the fermentation vats (tinas).

One of two copper potstills, with the condensing tank below. Distillation is calm work.

Niche in the San Luis cimeteria.

Wild agave on the way in. Note the sandy soil