What is Mezcal?
Mezcal is a drink of Mexican origin that has been shining internationally for more than a decade. This elixir loaded with tradition and history is created by distillation of the heart of the agave or maguey; a plant very similar to penca.
Agave, comes from the Greek agavé which means "noble", "illustrious", "admirable", "brilliant"; we agree, no other name could better fit the plant responsible for this mythical and enchanting elixir.
Just like grapes in wine, there are also many types of agaves. Each one gives the mezcal a unique flavor and aroma.
According to the Mexican Mezcal Quality Regulatory Council, there are more than 20 varieties that can give it life, one of the most used and well-known is the agave Angustifolia, better known as Espadín.
If we ask about the origin of mezcal, our feet are smeared with the Mexican soil, while we walk through the palenques of the indigenous tribes, the Zapotecs of Oaxaca and the Nahuas of Guerrero, who produced it in an artisanal way and drank it in their most special ceremonies and was only available for the nobleman, priests, and warriors.
Mezcal production is a labor of love that begins at the palenques or small distilleries. The mezcaleros skilfully cut the agave to the center or piña, which will be fire-cooked in underground, earthen pits lined with volcanic rock.
This underground 'oven' now smokes, cooks, and caramelizes the pina over a multi-day cooking process, which creates mezcal's characteristic smoky flavor. The agave pulp gets crushed by a stone wheel, and the liquid and fibers ferment for up to one month. After fermentation, the mezcal is distilled twice in pottery or copper stills.
Mezcal is tequila’s cooler, trendier cousin. Even though both liquors are made from the agave plant, they are quite different. By law, mezcal must contain 100 percent agave, leaving no room for anything artificial; therefore, mezcal can be considered cleaner and purer than tequila.
Mezcal is meant to be kissed—you're supposed to sip it very slowly, allowing a connection with it.