An interview with Romeo Hristov of Chisholm Trail Craft Glasses
It is nice to drink tequila and mezcal, but it is even nicer when you can drink it from a beautiful glass.
The glass enhances the drinking experience. A Riedel tequila glass with its long stem and high glass is fine when you are at a tasting.
The Riedel glass shows off the the liquid and allows us to enjoy seeing through the glass because it is narrow and thin walled.
If you like to enjoy your tequila while reading or working at the computer, a snifter is better. It is less likely to topple when you reach out for it and it is much easier to sit with. And of course the snifters’ shape enhances the olfactory experience. You can enjoy the delicious fumes of the liquid while drinking.
There is a world of hard to describe tactile and sense oriented experiences in the glass and they are all part of the overall drinking experience.
Romeo Hristov of Chisholm Trail Craft Glasses (http://chisholmtrailcraftsglasses.com/) has a keen eye for beautiful glasses and a curious mind for the knowledge of history and craft that goes into making a truly exceptional glassware for agave spirits.
TequilaList.com took a talk with Romeo Hristov on the art of glasses for tequila and mezcal:
Q: Who are you and what is your background?
A: By education I’m an archaeologist and anthropologist, but during my BA study in Mexico I also became fascinated with several Mexican handcrafts (such as the silversmithing, the artisanal glass and the talavera [majolica] among others), and my interest in them continues to the present.
Q: How did you establish an interest in Mexican glassware and tequila and mezcal glasses?
A: It started as a historical and anthropological curiosity: after all, the first glass in the Americas was produced in 1542 in Mexico, and a variant of the pre-Columbian jarrito [drinking jar] for alcoholic beverages from agave plants is still used in rural Mexico. Notwithstanding my enticement with the Mexican mouth-blown glass (and other Mexican handcrafts), comes from their singular aesthetic to permeate an objects of raw, earthy quality with harmony and beauty.
Q: It seems your interest for cultural history has played a big role. Did you personally seek out the artisans working within different fields?
A: Always. In my opinion, the creation of an outstanding artisanal item depends not only from the materials, the experience and the ethic of the artist, but also from a hard to describe, intuitive quality that brings together the craftsman, the object and their realms. And this quality is a very evasive one that easily can escape the conventional scrutiny of intermediaries.
Q: When did you get the idea to start selling hand-crafted glassware?
A: I started to study and collect Mexican mouth-blown glass and ceramic in the late 1990s, but it took more than a decade before my hobby was transformed into a business with artisanal glasses for agave spirits.
Q: The “Pepita” engraving technique… it was news to me that this was in fact a Mexican speciality. Where did you learn about it?
A: I got acquainted with the “Pepita” engraving in the late 1990s and decided to use it in my glasses for agave spirits in 2014, after realizing how many particulars the tequila and the “Pepita” have in common. Few of the most noteworthy examples are:
- both the tequila and the “Pepita” are a fusion of pre-Columbian and European crafting skills and traditions;
- both the the tequila and the “Pepita” originated in the mid-sixteen century Mexico/New Spain, and
- the legacies of both the tequila (as a luxury Mexican spirit) and the “Pepita” (as fine Mexican craft) gained a world recognition after being joined together in the Casa Dragones tequila bottle, arguably one of the most stylish containers for agave spirits ever made.
Q: How did you figure out what to focus on in your shop?
A: My enterprise with tequila and mezcal glasses started as a leap of faith, but it seems to be generating a decent amount of interest among the tequila aficionados, especially those that value artisanal quality and tradition. However, we live in a fast-changing world and I’m also trying to follow some recent trending products and opportunities in my target market.