Brooks and Anna are the founders of Rambling Spirits. They are a couple, lucky enough to work with their passions in Oaxaca since 2013. Brooks was working as a bartender, designing cocktails in San Francisco before visiting Mexico on an industry trip, while Anna was a freelance photojournalist who came to Oaxaca to document mezcal for the (London) Mexican Embassy. Rambling Spirits grew organically out of a united love for Oaxaca and mezcal.
Here are some kind words from the wonderful people who have joined this experience...
"My friends Anna and Brooks from Rambling Spirits drove us around on a full-day tour, and I learned a lot about the drink. Like tequila, mezcal is made from agave, but unlike tequila, the heart of the plant is cooked in a pit in the ground before it’s crushed. Then water is added, and it’s allowed to ferment. Since it’s cooked, mezcal has a much smokier flavor than tequila. It (Oaxaca) was by far my favorite spot in Mexico and now holds a place my heart in a way I did not expect. I mean, I knew I would like it, but to love it so much? That was a surprise. But, then again, it’s the destinations that we have the least expectations about that turn out to be our favorites. So, now, along with a very small handful of places in the world, I can add Oaxaca to the list: cities I will love for the rest of my life."
"We booked a mezcal tour as part of our itinerary and this gorgeous -in-love-with-dogs- couple made of our afternoon a great experience to keep in our hearts. We even bought the book of Anna “Perros y Palenques” as a thank you and a genuine interest for their work. They express what they are through everything they make. We could see that and we know they show it with their project “Rambling Spirits” they will have forever a place in our memories of the great trip that was Mexico mágico."
Daniela Trujillo, Actriz Disney Channel
"I did not know what to expect from this Mezcal Tour from Rambling Spirits, but they came highly recommended and certainly did not disappoint. I was blown away by the entire experience and couldn't recommend them highly enough. I was very impressed at how much knowledge they could teach us about mezcal, as well as how they could coordinate with local maestros and artisans to view different parts of the process. They made it fun along the way , topped it off with a nice sunset and allllll the tastings I could desire. Would give them 6 stars (out of 5) if possible."
My friend and I were on the hunt for a mezcal tour. And then we came across Rambling Spirits.... If you’re looking for just a tour, this isn’t for you. If you’re looking for an experience of a lifetime, then Rambling Spirits should be your choice. The Rambling Spirits crew are an absolute joy to adventure with. They are knowledgeable, professional, and most importantly, fun. We learned more about Mezcal than we could’ve anticipated, and had an intimate experience with the Mezcal farmers. It feels less like a tour, and more of an adventure. All thanks to the Rambling Spirits crew!
"Anna and Brooks have lived in Oaxaca for a combined 11 years and started Rambling Spirits in 2018, which creates tailored experiences around 'taking hikes and drinks to beautiful places in Oaxaca'. They often operate as an intersection between the mezcal region and industry folk looking for mezcal education combined with a pleasant nature-focused experience mixed in. We met Anna and Brooks through common friends in Oaxaca and hired Anna, a lead photographer for Tom Bullock's book Experience Agave, to help capture the mezcaleros in their best light. Coronel will be the first month which features almost entirely Anna's work. Now, we are usually pretty adamant about not mixing Melate's artisanal agave spirits into cocktails, but we made an exception this month due to Coronel's related attitudes about innovation vs tradition and the cocktail movement. So, we had Brooks, a former bartender from the Bay Area who started bartending at Comal in Berkeley, mix up a custom cocktail especially for Coronel's 'piney' Cuixe.
Dalton Kreiss founder of Maguey Melate
"For passion and then as part of my work, I’ve been visiting the palenques for years. Whereas before we used to organize these trips ourselves, recently there have been tours popping up to provide the service. I was lucky enough to go on one with Anna and Brooks. They managed to strike just the right balance between informative guides and the sense of excitement and adventure that you want from visits to deep and real mezcal country. Recommended."
Tom Bullock - Author of The Mezcal Experience
"If you’re looking for a fun and informative day out into the Oaxaca valleys but don’t fancy the tourist busses then these guys are for you! I’ve been on multiple excursions with Anna and Brooks since my first visit to Mexico in 2016, and we’ve hosted each other in Oaxaca and London. They’re really knowledgeable about mezcal, and loads of other elements of Oaxacan culture. They know how to do get around like the locals, to places that aren’t in the guidebooks, and they’ll show you a good time while they’re at it."
Jon Darby - Founder of Sin Gusano
"Anna and Brooks were exceptional hosts, taking me on an eye opening and varied tour of the some of the best mezcal producers. I was blown away by the focus on sustainability and zero waste production, and came away a lot wiser and slightly drunk."
Neil Rankin - Head Chef and Owner of Temper restaurant
"Truly a unique experience exploring the palenques of Santa Catarina Minas. They are super knowledgeable about mezcal and well connected within the community - we ended up on a private tour of a small, ancestral distillery where we got to meet some of the mezcaleros, see where they roast the agaves, and watch them distill in clay pots. And afterwards, of course, got to taste some delicious mezcal. Will totally change how you think about your booze, highly recommend!"
Mateo Schimpf - Freelance Radio Reporter & Mezcal Aficionado
"Anna and Brooks are a Oaxacan institution. I was very lucky to meet them on my first trip out west. What a find! The vast majority of my online content has been seen through Anna's lens. Brooks has helped craft some unforgettable serves. And most importantly, they've been formidable drinking buddies - providing good juice and good times in the bars, the fields, and the many hidden palenques of the Sierra Madre."
Ben Schroder - Founder of Pensador Mezcal
"Anna and Brooks have helped me host friends on a number of occasions. They have excellent knowledge of the industry are really organised and made the trip enjoyable for all!"
Thea Cumming - Founder of Dangerous Don Mezcal
"Anna’s work speaks for itself, she has a true talent for capturing memorable photographs. My wife and I had the opportunity to work with her and Brooks, to see her method firsthand. They masterfully walked us through a hike, where it's part walkabout and part photo shoot. We are a small Mezcal import company and needed a wide variety of social media material. From a short two hour session, they supplied us with a wide range of images for our business and our clients."
Fred Baptista - Founder of Frijolotes
"We had a great time with Anna and Brooks! Their knowledge of Oaxaca culture is deepened by their years of time living in the area. Their knowledge of mezcal is deepened by their years drinking it (and spending vast amount of hours and days with mezcaleros learning their craft). Most importantly they are gracious hosts who pride themselves on providing a very professional experience to anyone interested in learning about mezcal regardless of the guests' mezcal knowledge level. The relationships they've built at palenques and with various mezcaleros is genuine and unique. Next time I'm back in Oaxaca I will count on them to guide me through another fun, genuine and educational mezcal experience!"
Joseph PM - Bartender
"Anna and Brooks took us on a magnificent day out to Hierve el Agua, the extraordinary mineral springs an hour’s drive from Oaxaca City. A short but lovely walk through these strange natural pools bubbling gently - mysteriously - and quietly forming a landscape of frozen waterfalls from their mineral deposits. Return journey via the very strange Mitla, Mixtec ruins with construction and decoration unlike any other we saw in Mexico; and then Yagul, a more extended site where we enjoyed a warm and unencumbered ramble. A highlight were the stops at a couple of distilleries – wonderfully rural and authentic, traditional processes with wood-fired stills and huge dedication - tastings encouraged. Our guides’ expertise really opened up this industry to us. In fact it was their knowledge, generosity and charm that made the whole day such a resounding success. Many thanks to both of them."
David Gye - consultant
"Mezcal chasing with Anna was one of my favorite experiences in Oaxaca! She is super knowledgeable and clearly passionate about the craft. Not to mention a phenomenal photographer! Highly recommend if you’re looking to explore mezcal in a way that feels local and authentic rather than touristy."
Teresa Bigelow - PR Specialist
"I’ve had the pleasure of going on several mezcal adventures with Anna and Brooks of Rambling Spirits. They have close connections within Oaxaca’s growing mezcal industry and intimate knowledge of the process. With transportation handled, itinerary planned, photography covered, all you have to do it shown, bring a sun hat, and get ready to learn and taste mezcal to your hearts content. I love that they know the larger modern distilleries and also traditional small mom and pop shops, which makes for a holistic experience. Would highly recommend!"
Hannah Aronowitz - Founder of Miha
'Anna and Brooks provided me with an unforgettable adventure, and life long friendship. I can not wait to experience another adventure with them in Oaxca. They are trustworthy, hardworking, talented, and full of love!'
Natalie Beartooth Burke - Artist and Stylist
"When I saw some of Anna’s photography I immediately got in touch to see if she could help us document the inspiring production and traditional techniques behind our woven bags. Anna’s photography really captures the spirit of the talented artisans who make Memah’s products, and it was fantastic to work along side Anna. Not only does she produce beautiful work but her local knowledge, connections and translating was so valuable."
Sarah Cowen - Founder of Memah