We have all heard about tequila, but have you heard about its cousin mezcal? A brief history over mezcal.
Mezcal is a spirit made from agave plant and fermented with an indigenous yeast called “mazatlán.” It’s distilled in Mexico, where it’s known as “mescal” or “chicha,” and is traditionally served in small cups with ice. Mezcal is made in Mexico primarily in oaxaca but can also be found in Durango, Tamaulipas, San Luis Potisi and a few other spots in Mexico. To be made, Agave must first be harvested usually from the wild or from farms that produce this plant. The agave is then put into clay pits in the ground and then roasted for three days. This is what gives it that smokey flavor. And can actually be adjusted for a heavy smoke flavor to a smoke free flavor. Once the agave is roasted it has to be ground down to a pulp.
How to pick a good mezcal drink
There are a few different ways to pick a mezcal. First you are going to want to look at the label of the mezcal bottle.
- Type I: This is the indication that the mezcal is made with 100% agave as the base. If the label does not say type I make sure it says 100% to ensure that it is a type I mezcal.
- Type II: All mezcals are required to be made with no less than 80% agave. Type II agaves are made with the required 80% agave and with another fermenting agent like pure cane sugar. These often have a different taste and hide some of flavors that agave has to offer.
- White- is a clear spirit that has been aged for about 2 months.
- Reposado- This mezcal has been aged in wooden barrels for about 2 to 8 months
- Dorado- Similar to a white mezcal just some coloring has been added
- Anejo- Has to be aged a minium of one year but usually has been aged for two to three years.
- Joven- This is going to be a young mezcal that has been aged only a couple months.
Types of mezcals
- Espadin- This is going to be your most popular type of mezcal with about 90% of mezcals being made from this. It can grow in the wild as well as be farmed
- Tobola- A pretty expensive and on the rare side, this type of agave only grows in shady, rocky areas and must be reproduced from birds and bats rather than spreading its own seeds.
- Tepeztate- The rarest of mezcals, you probably wont have easy access to this. As the agave plant to this mezcal takes about 30 years to grow and mature. If you are lucky enough to get a taste of this you’ll taste a intensely flavorful mezcal
- Arroqueno- This mezcal is going to be the best taste and notes wise. It has floral or vegetal tastes with a background of spicy and dark chocolate notes.
- Tobaziche- Grown in different regions in mexico, it has a very savory flavor.
So now that you know a little bit more about mezcals, we recommend that you go out and try some safety of course. We also recommend that you keep an open mind when trying them. As they will taste a lot different then your normal tequilas, they can be extremely good. And to be completely honest, because everyone has different taste buds the only person that is going to be able to determine what the best mezcal is will be you. As taste and flavor will change from person to person. We do recommend starting out with Espadin mezcal as that will be a good starting point. You do not want to start off big and not like it.