Riddle me this: What spirit is derived from a succulent, distilled in Kansas City and goes great in margaritas?
No, it’s not tequila — tequila must be produced in the Mexican state of Jalisco. But you’re close.
Mean Mule Distilling is three years old but just now opened a tasting room (1733 Locust St., Kansas City, Mo., 816-787-1846, meanmuledistilling.co) in the Crossroads Arts District. The company produces an agave spirit from 100 percent Weber blue agave imported from a family farm in Jalisco. It’s hard not to draw comparisons between Mexican-made tequila and Mean Mule’s Silver ($35) and Gold ($40) agave spirits, given they share the same store shelves in Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma.
Since Mean Mule uses Jalisco-grown blue agave, there are some base similarities in flavor profiles. But the local distillation changes things. Missouri air is different than Mexican air. Kansas City water has an impact on the taste. Mean Mule uses custom-built stills.
“We love tequila, and we’re not trying to compete with that,” says Meg Evans at Mean Mule. “We just talk about our products as agave-based spirits, and we want people to taste our story because what we’re doing is different.”
Mean Mule’s spirits are certainly unique. The silver is citrus-forward and lined with pineapple and melon notes, with a fierce finish. The gold is smooth-as-hell, honey-colored medicine that smells like gardenias in bloom.
Mean Mule Paloma Recipe
• 1 can Pamplamoose La Croix or flavored soda water
• 2 oz Mean Mule Silver
• 1/2 oz lime juice
• Take a big sip from the can to make some room for the rest of the ingredients
• Add Lime and Mean Mule
Want to sweeten it up?
• Add 1/2 oz of simple syrup!
Want to serve it on the rocks?
• Rim a glass with salt, and add ice, Mean Mule, lime juice and soda in that order.