Doña Vega Mezcal’s Founder Reveals Her Home Barware Must-Haves
We spoke with Sonya Vega Auvray about her love for mezcal, leaving her PR job to launch her own version of the spirit, and her longtime obsession with glassware.
While tequila has long been a staple on restaurant and bar menus in America, mezcal hasn’t been nearly as ubiquitous. It wasn’t until recently (2019 to be exact) that the United States became the world’s largest market for mezcal, and its popularity just keeps growing. Around that time, Mexican-American entrepreneur, Sonya Vega Auvray, tried the spirit for the first time while at a wedding, and fell in love with it on the spot. She liked it so much, in fact, that she considered leaving her job as a publicist and creating her own mezcal brand.
After a year of learning about and researching mezcal in Oaxaca, Vega Auvray decided that she wanted to create a less smoky version of the spirit. And that’s how Doña Vega Mezcal was born. The artisanal mezcal—which is produced by a family of women in a small town outside of Oaxaca—has given her the opportunity to connect with her Mexican roots while introducing a new take on mezcal to the U.S. market.
We got a chance to speak with Vega Auvray about her journey from public relations to creating a mezcal brand and her longtime passion for collecting glassware and barware.
How was the journey from working in PR to founding a mezcal brand?
Vega Auvray: I'd been doing PR for 18 years. We were notable for our launches, so I've launched a brand, but I've never made one. I started to research, going to Oaxaca by myself, doing different tests, different recipes, and simultaneously using the creative teams I've worked with in the past. If it came to fruition and it actually got to where I could sell it, then I would move forward, and if not, it was going to be a fun journey along the way. I was excited about something I did for myself.
How does your Mexican heritage help you with that?
Vega Auvray: Well, I just think it makes us more authentic. I was born in the United States. My grandfather is from Los Mochis and he moved to the States when he was 18 and married my grandmother, who's Mexican. And my mom married my father, whose family also came from Mexico to Arizona. So, we're very American, but at the same time, we are Mexican.
Collaborating with our Mexican producer and her three daughters also makes us stronger to who we are as a brand.
What are your favorite cocktails to make with mezcal?
Vega Auvray: I typically have it neat with a large ice cube. During the pandemic, I got obsessed with mezcal Negronis: one-third is mezcal, one-third is vermouth, and the other one-third is Campari. It's delicious, and I can drink it all day long.
Do you have any specific favorite glassware to serve your cocktails in, or any tools that you use at home?
Vega Auvray: I've always liked glasses, even before getting into the industry. Whether it be vintage glasses on Artemest or 1stDibs. I collect glassware when I'm traveling for Negronis or for drinking [my mezcal] neat. The only tool that I really think that makes a difference is a cocktail shaker. Normally they have glass and they're really pretty, but a metal one, when you're mixing it with the ice, it just makes it cooler. I like large ice cube trays as well. That's another important thing, whether I have [my mezcal] neat or over a cocktail poured into a glass.
Shop Sonya Vega's Favorites
Shop Sonya Vega's Favorites
Sonya Vega’s Must-Haves For Mezcal Sipping
Georg Jenson SKY Set: "I like the sleek lines of this set from Georg Jenson. The stainless steel material brightens up a bar and is an affordable option for a complete cocktail set"
Viski Mixologist Barware Set: "This 4-piece stainless steel bar set from Viski is my go-to simple necessity!"
Baccarat Harmonie Shot Glasses: "I love the modern and elevated design of these.”
1stDibs Deco Crystal Champagne Coupes: "I’m a sucker for old fashioned, vintage champagne glasses. I prefer my mezcal neat and these from 1stDibs are perfect for sipping with company."
Historically Modern Designs The Oaxaca Tequila Glass: "Traditionally, mezcal is to be enjoyed simply at room temperature from a copita. These are a modern take on the method."