Mezcal is one of the hottest spirits on the market right now. Its sometimes called the smoky and flavorful older brother of tequila.
What is Mezcal?
Mezcal is a distilled spirit made from the heart of the agave plant. Lets explore what Mezcal is, where it comes from, its history, and what it tastes like. While there are many varieties of Mezcal, this article aims to give a basic understanding of the spirit.
Mezcal is a term used to describe any spirit distilled from the fermentation and distillation of the heart of the agave plant. While tequila is made from a specific kind of agave plant, mezcal can be made from about 30 different varieties of agave species. The traditional way to produce Mezcal starts with the Jimadores. Who go out into the field and chop off the leaves of the agave plant. This leaves the heart of the agave plant, or the piña, which is then cooked to release the nectar inside. They are then fermented, and distilled.
How it is made
To cook the agave plant, a big pit is created in the ground. A layer of charcoal lava rocks, firewood, and charcoal is added and lit on fire. The piña is placed in the pit, covered with dirt and soil, and left to cook for several days. This gives Mezcal its traditional, earthy, and smoky flavor, as the smoke infuses the agave with its flavor. Once the piña is done cooking, it is crushed to extract the nectar. Traditionally this is done by hand with clubs and knives. Sometimes a giant stone or cement wheel pulled by a horse, donkey, or mule is also used.
While there are over 30 different species of agave plants that can be used to make Mezcal, 90% of all of it, is made from the espadín species of agave. The flavors and aromas can vary depending on the species of agave used, where it was grown, and the production methods used.
It also has a long and rich history in Mexico, dating back to pre-Columbian times. Traditionally, it was used for religious and medicinal purposes and was considered a sacred drink. It was also used as a form of currency in some regions of Mexico.
How is it Different from Tequila?
It also has a distinct flavor profile that sets it apart from tequila. It is known for its smoky, earthy, and vegetal notes, with hints of fruit, citrus, and spice. Some Mezcal has a rich and creamy texture, while others have a light and crisp mouthfeel. If you want to know more about the differences & similarities between Mezcal & Tequila, check out this blog post.
In conclusion, Mezcal is a unique and flavorful spirit made from the heart of the agave plant. Its rich history, traditional production methods, and wide variety of flavors make it a beloved drink among cocktail enthusiasts and tequila lovers alike.