Pozole and Mezcal Event Bowl of ’Zole Is Returning to Denver | Westword

Mezcal and Pozole Fest Bowl of ’Zole Is Returning to the Mile High

The inaugural event last year proved to be a very good time — especially if you're a fan of agave spirits.
Bowl of ’Zole will take place on March 28.
Bowl of ’Zole will take place on March 28. Bowl of ’Zole
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Last year, a mezcal- and pozole-focused tasting event that drew big crowds in New York City and Boston came to Denver for the first time, and it proved to be one hell of a party — especially if you're a fan of agave spirits.

On March 28, Bowl of ’Zole will return to the Skylight event space, at 833 Santa Fe Drive, from 5 to 9 p.m. Tickets start at $65 and are available online. Last year, the event was well organized, easy to navigate and filled with plenty of delicious variations of pozole from local chefs, along with a wide range of spirits to sample from both well-known and much smaller labels.

"This is the kind of experience you only get when you're in the industry," says event co-founder Jimmy Carbone, who was a restaurant owner in NYC for over two decades and now runs Food Karma, a food and media events production company.

The idea for Bowl of ’Zole was sparked when chef Danny Mena, author of Made in Mexico, was doing a pozole pop-up in NYC. "Mexico is a big and beautiful landscape, and pozole is a big part of that," adds spirit expert Arik Torren, who, like Mena, is a partner in the project.
click to enlarge two bottles of mezcal with black and white labels
A wide range of mezcal brands and spirits will be pouring at Bowl of ’Zole.
Molly Martin
"The event business can be lucrative, but we see it more as a passion project and focus on curating something that is exceptional," Carbone notes. The three launched Bowl of ’Zole five years ago in NYC as a celebration of Mexico's rich heritage, adding a Boston edition in 2022 and Denver in 2023.

The chef lineup for the Mile High event is once again stacked with local talent, including Veronica Rodriguez of Palenque Cocina y Agaveria; Troy Guard of TAG Group and Los Chingones; David Lopez of El Chingon; Bill Taibe of Kawa Ni; Michael Beary of Zocalito Latin Bistro; Ni Tuyo; Amos Watts of the Fifth String; Antonio Tevillo of Tamayo; Silvia Andaya of Adelitas Cocina y Cantina, La Doña Mezcaleria and Desert Social; Oscar Padilla of Chulo Taco; Zuri Resendiz of Luchador; Dana Rodriguez of Cantina Loca; Tres Margaritas; and Blue Moon Brewery.

"My cooks are actually fighting over who will go with us this year," Watts says. "It's always fun to do an event when you can tell the organizers have the chefs in mind."

Padilla adds, "We have just opened our new concept, called Chulo Taco, which is based on the taquerias of Mexico City, and we will participate with this concept that is focused 100 percent on our Mexican culture."

"Pozole is a platform for creativity," Torren explains, adding that attendees can expect to taste everything from very traditional preparations in a range of regional styles to vegan versions to more unexpected spins on the dish.
click to enlarge a woman standing behind a table with bottles of mezcal and sliced fruit
The mezcal was flowing freely at the first Denver edition of Bowl of ’Zole in 2023.
Molly Martin
While the food itself is a draw, "the event is more about bringing people together and spreading the gospel of good mezcal," Carbone says. Over 100 expressions of agave spirits — including mezcal, tequila, raicilla, bacanora and sotol — will be available for sipping. Many come from smaller brands that will have the opportunity to share their stories alongside their spirits.

"We get to be a platform," Torren notes. "There are larger brands, too, but that's what's incredible — having them all under one roof, all of these small producers, small brands, small makers. That doesn't typically happen. Most events price out those smaller brands, but we do it for the love of a sense of community."

The opportunity to connect with the people behind the product is something most consumers don't often get, and it adds a far deeper level of appreciation for the history and culture of Mexico. "Mezcal and all these traditional spirits — part of why they're so profound is the totality of it," Torren adds. "It's an agricultural product, it's a cultural product, it's a historic product."
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