How to Drink Mezcal
How Should You Drink Mezcal?
Identifying your Mezcal is also an indelible part of properly enjoying it. Mezcal will fall into one of three aging categories, in order from shortest to longest process: Joven, Reposado, or Añejo. Joven Mezcals will be transparent, while Reposado and Añejo will show progressively darker shades of amber from being aged in wood barrels. Those Mezcals will harbor more notes of spices and wood.
Regardless of the type of Mezcal, which you can and should identify by inspecting or inquiring about the label on the bottle, your experience will only improve by taking time to smell your Mezcal once you’ve poured it. Mezcal can contain up to 600 flavor compounds and, although the average human has the capacity of recognizing up to 10,000 different smells, it’s easier for us to describe flavors rather than scents. Keep in mind that 80% of what we taste is the smell.
That being said, once you’re (finally) ready to taste, it’s highly recommended to take small sips, and ponder the profile with each one, letting the Mezcal rest in your mouth for 5-10 seconds. Depending on the creator’s process and the green agave plants that were harvested, you may taste a combination of spices like vanilla or clove or experience a blooming sensation of citrus, florals or herbs with each sip. And don’t forget about the smoke.
Mezcal flavor profile
Complete your authentic experience
Remember to pour your Mezcal into an appropriate glass. No plastic! Mezcal should only be consumed from glass with a wide mouth. A shot glass is ok – just don’t shoot it! Mezcal must be savored. Traditionally, Mezcal is often poured into votive glasses, or “vaso veladora” – coining the phrase “drink until you see the cross.”
Pair with water! Pace yourself, for your own sake and for the flavor of the spirit, and make sure to have plenty to hydrate you on hand, especially since Mezcal is traditionally consumed on an empty stomach.
But if you do want to pair your Mezcal with food, or something to enhance its natural flavors, you’ll find that it’s most often paired with oranges – the citrus interacting beautifully with Mezcal’s fruity notes. Lemon and lime wedges, strawberries and tamarind are also wonderful pairings.