Mezcal from Mexico
If you want a hip touristic experience, we recommend trying the mezcal, a Mexican beverage with a high alcohol content that has become very popular in high-end dining tables. This is the reason why we’re dedicating this article to sharing with you the importance of this product that comes from the agave plant and that has an artisanal production.
Types of Agave Plants
It’s important to say that there are different types of agave plants. Thus, there are tequila, pulque and mezcal agave plants, and all of them grow in arid landscapes, usually in the northern Mexican states as well as in Oaxaca, south of Mexico.
People say that mescal is a “drink from the heavens”. Why? There’s a legend that says that mezcal originated from a ray of lightning that fell from the heavens and struck an agave plant causing the first “tatema” or burning of the maguey from which the beverage oozed.
Artisanal Mezcal from Oaxaca
Mezcal is mainly produced in Oaxaca and it’s very coveted due to its artisanal production. It requires a procedure in which the agave plants are subject to high heat in furnaces. Then, the sugar cane pulp is removed in order to squeeze the juice from it –they use special grinders for this– which is then poured in vats to favor fermentation. Finally, it’s subject to distillation in stills or distillation columns where it’s added with alcohol in order to achieve a better taste.
In Oaxaca there are several families that are dedicated to the production of mezcal and even though they all follow the same processes, the instruments they use for distillation and even the type of furnace they use may vary. Evidently, each family adds their own secret touch to the beverage in order to give it a unique taste.
What Does Mezcal Taste Like?
You’ll notice a strong alcohol flavor in your tongue, but when you allow the liquid to flood your mouth you’ll notice smoked notes that come from the heating process.
You’ll discover that many people combine a shot of mezcal with lemon and maguey worm salt, and even if the locals will tell you that this is not the correct way to drink it, DINKtravelers recommends trying it like this if it’s the first time you taste it.
According to the locals, the best mezcal is sold in crystal bottles and not clay recipients that may release chemicals that could alter the drink’s taste.
Varieties of Mezcal
Apart from the original version you can taste mezcal in the form of liquors of different flavors including coconut, strawberry, coffee and peanuts, among others. And be warned: they hold mezcal tastings in almost all the local shops but after trying so many varieties you could feel quite tipsy.
In your next trip to Mexico remember that apart from tequila there are other delicious traditional beverages such as mezcal that could become the protagonists of an enjoyable dinner party.