What is Mezcal?
Made in only 9 states in Mexico, Mezcal is the mother of all agave-derived distillates. As the “mother of all Tequilas”, Mezcal is the original source and result of distilling the Mexican agave plant into a spirit.
How can I define Mezcal?
Mezcal is a spirit originating from the Oaxaca area of Mexico. It is made by harvesting and fire-roasting the native Agave plant and extracting the plant’s sugar through the milling process.
What is the origin of Mezcal?
Mezcal is typically cited as having been brought to Mexico by Spanish conquerors. However, Mexican spiritual texts and depictions have much earlier observations of its creation and consumption.
What is the difference between Mezcal & Tequila?
The smokiness of Mezcal is usually the #1 tip-off to a drinker wondering what the difference is between Mezcal and Tequila. It comes from the fire-roasting of the agave plant and can vary in strength and mildness. Not to mention the fact that Tequilas comes only from the Blue Weber agave varietal, whereas you could experience numerous differences in flavors and tastes just among Mezcals dependent on the different types of agave harvested by the distillers.
Is Tequila the same as Mezcal?
No! Tequila is only made from the Blue Weber agave plant, while Mezcal is derived from approximately 12 types of agave plants, the most common being Espadin, which accounts for roughly 90% of Mezcal production.
How is Mezcal made?
Mezcal is distilled from cooking and fermenting harvested agave plants. It is typically fire-roasted, and then goes through a significant milling and sugar extraction process to achieve distillation and flavoring. Traditional, generationally-taught and sometimes even ritualistic techniques and steps are used for the creation of many Mezcals, and those rituals can vary depending on what the region is known for. For example, in the town of Tlacolula in Oaxaca, the Espadin agave harvest is carefully inspected and harvested before being cooked in a traditional, cone-shaped wood oven. The wood in the oven is lit and volcanic rocks are placed on top of it, arranged in a pyramid. The piña, or the “heart”, which is the core of the agave plant, is covered in cloth and soil and cooked for 3 to 5 days. In a tradition followed by the most authentic distillers, the cooked piñas are milled using a Tahona, which involves attaching a horse to the pit containing the volcanic rocks, and having it walk in a circle to pull the rock. Now, it’s time for the fermentation process to begin. The cooked piñas, adhering to tradition, can only be fermented in a wooden tub. Some traditional Mezcals are then double-distilled in copper pot stills before finally being bottled.
Where does Mezcal come from?
Although there are over 100 varietals of the agave plant throughout the country of Mexico, Mezcal is traditionally and most typically made from Espadin agave, which is native to the Oaxaca region of Mexico.
What is the alcohol content of Mezcal?
Most available Mezcals share a standard alcohol content of 40%. Some rare, hand-crafted Mezcal brands produce Mezcal with a 55% alcohol content, but the brands that are readily available put their Mezcal through a second water-based distillation process that brings the alcohol content to a uniform 40%.
Is Mezcal gluten free?
Yes! No gluten will be found in traditional Mezcal.
How many calories are in Mezcal?
Mezcal is quite low in calories, often just containing calories from the sugars extracted from the plant in the distilling process.
What does Mezcal taste like?
So many things - while an oft-cited aspect of Mezcal is the “smoky” profile, the taste is actually indicative of the agave plant itself. Floral, fruity, sweet, and citrus flavors are just some on the spectrum you can expect from different types of Mezcal.
What is the best way to drink Mezcal?
Whatever you do, don’t shoot it back! Mezcal, because of its ancestral roots and traditional process, is a magical drink that begs to be sipped or mixed into a cocktail that further unlocks its floral and fruity flavors (in addition to that smoke).
How do you store Mezcal?
Store your Mezcal in a cool, dry, space away from sunlight and heat.
What are the best cocktails for Mezcal?
Mezcal flourishes in spins on traditional cocktails like an Old Fashioned, Negroni, Mezcal Mule, Mezcal Sour and Mojito. Summer-ready, fruity and sweet cocktails are go-to’s for Mezcal drinkers.
Is Mezcal good for Margaritas?
Margaritas can dull the smokey traits of Mezcal, so while it would be up to the drinker, someone wanting to experience the full breath of Mezcal’s unique profile should opt for other cocktails. However, Mezcal is best enjoyed however the individual prefers it.
Does Mezcal have a worm in it?
No! (Most of the time). Modern, high-end mezcal producers will not include a “worm” in their bottles.