Cheech Marin is promoting a new ‘substance’ in Miami

Comedian Cheech Marin may be known for his legendary “Cheech & Chong” pothead humor, but these days the actor is going a bit more highbrow. He’s throwing parties during Art Basel to celebrate his passion for Chicano art and to introduce his line of Tres Papalote Mezcal, which is 100 percent handcrafted by a maestro mezcalero using a family recipe.

On Saturday, Marin will host a specialty mezcal tasting at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. He will also discuss his prized Chicano Art collection, one of the most extensive in the world. Sculptor Elinar De La Torre, renowned artist and creator of the Tres Papalote label design, will also be on hand to exhibit glass sculptures from his current Miami Art Exhibition.

Marin spoke to

How did you get into collecting art?

My mantra has always been that you can’t love or hate Chicano art unless you see it. Once people see it, often they say something like “I didn’t think it would look like this” and “I like this.” I believe that Chicanos are the best painters out there today. I love it because this school of painting offers the widest variety of styles and techniques. I’m passionate about it because Chicano art is American art.

Who are some of your favorite contemporary artists?

This is a hard one to answer because there are so many. Some of my favorites are Carlos Almaraz, Patssi Valdez, John Valadez and Vincent Valdez.

What’s special about your mezcal line, Tres Papalote?

We searched Mexico to find a wonderful tasting mezcal and discovered the wild cupreata agave plant in the mountains of Guerrero. We were drawn to its slightly sweeter taste and found we could cook the agave pina (the heart of the plant) a specific length of time so as not to have too strong of a smoky flavor — creating a very approachable taste.

How do you like to drink it and what’s your favorite dish to accompany it?

It’s great for sipping, but I personally like to drink Tres Papalote in a cocktail. … I like to eat any food with it. It really can be paired with anything!

What do you love to do when you’re in South Florida?

I like to travel around and see all of the natural wonders of Florida. I’m heading to Key West and spent time in the Everglades. I also like to fish (although don’t do often enough) and participate in the food and nightlife of Miami. I also like to watch jai alai‬. It’s a really fun sport to watch and an amazing gambling game.

What Art Basel events are on your schedule this weekend?

This is my first time to visit Art Basel and I’m excited. I like meeting new artists and hanging out with others I know like Einar and Jamex de la Torre whose works are in my collection, who created the artwork that influenced the design of the Tres Papalote Mezcal bottle, and who will be showing in Miami with the Mindy Solomon Gallery.

Did you hear Florida just passed medical marijuana? Thoughts?

I think it’s wonderful. Medical marijuana is a gift to the people of the world, and I hope to see it used more and more. It alleviates a variety of ailments.