Mezcal is obtained from the distillation of a plant call maguey or agave
Agave is one of the few vegetables that provide man with home, clothing, sustenance, and health.
Archaeological evidence indicates that more than 10,000 years ago nomadic and semi-nomadic groups used different types of agave for the extraction of fibers and as food.
Several scholars agree that Mexico is the center and origin of maguey dispersion since in this immense territory (it is located from 6 to 40 degrees north latitude) there are wild species of agaves in less evolved forms, as well as greater number of varieties.
Its presence in Asian and Mediterranean countries is due to the fact that man took it to these places for exploitation.
The agave lives in a semi-desert environment, with little rain.
It reaches maturity between eight and twelve years and flowers only once, dying shortly.
In its wide, thorny and protected leaves, called pencas, are stored the nutrients that allow it to survive in a hostile environment, as well as a series of insects, among which are the worm “magueyero” and the ant aguamielera, both man’s food.
The agave genus comprises two subgenres: the Littaea and the Agave.
The first one in a spiky way, with a high content of saponin, among other uses decoration and contains smilagenin, the essential raw material for making steroids.
The species that make up the subgenus Agave are exploited to produce fermented beverages:
– and distilled beverages
– tequila or mezcal
– or to extract fibers, fodder, and food.
Pulque is a drink resulting from the fermentation of the sap (mead) of maguey species that grow in the temperate zones of Mexico (Agave mapisaga, A. salmiana, etc.) and that had great economic importance until the middle of the 20th century.
The cultural ancestor of mezcal is Pulque, which is wrong since it is a different product.
Pulque has its own history, very rich and better known than mezcal, which involves other processes.
Some agaves can produce both pulque and mezcal.
Mezcal is the common name granted for at least 400 years to beverages from the distillation of the fermented musts of pineapples or cooked heads of maguey or agave.
With the conquest and European colonization, the maguey derivatives had an increase.
The pulque stopped being a ritual drink (being free of restrictions for its consumption), besides receiving a considerable impulse to sell it.
The Europeans, in turn, initiated the distillation of other agaves with which they elaborated mezcal spirits.
Around 40 different agaves are traditionally used to make mezcal in at least 26 states of the Mexican Republic.
There are, therefore, a large number of mezcales according to the species or combination of species and the instruments and production processes.
Mezcales change from one region to another:
Tequila, bacanora, rootlet, miner, breast, tobalá, tuche and tuxca are only some local mezcal names.
The differences in the processes are given by the containers used for fermentation, distillation and rest (mud, wood, logs, leather, glass, rock and copper) and additives (meat, fruits, insects, and spices), according to with each tradition.
Best Mezcal Brands
Concentrates ten years of work and solar fire to fill each bottle with an extraordinary distillate.
Smoked notes of agave pineapple are present in each sip along with notes of lime and flowers.
He was the only mezcal winner of the Great Gold Medal in the Brussels World Contest.
Wahaka Joven Tobalá
The tobalá is a wild agave from the highlands of Oaxaca and one of the richest in flavors and aromas.
Finding it is a challenge and producing it even more.
Both its production process and the presence in the mouth of herbs and citrus make it a beverage that is well worth knowing.
He was a double gold medalist in the 2012 World Spirits Competition.
It is 100 percent sprat agave and should rest for three months in Mexican white oak barrels.
It is light, bright, has a long and elegant persistence on the palate and features floral notes.
He won a double gold medal at the WSWA Tasting Competition this year.
For the adventurers, this mezcal main characteristic, as its name says, by the scorpion that replaces the classic maguey worm inside the bottle.
Matures one year in oak barrels to adopt smoked notes, leather, lime, and tobacco.
Mezcal of the Year by a major industry magazine in the United States.
Los Danzantes de Pechuga
Its production is very interesting:
it goes through a triple distillation in copper stills.
The last of them includes a recipe for fruits and spices in the distillation broth and a hen in the pot of the still.
The process to ink the Mezcal with grana cochineal that gives it its red color.
On the nose and mouth remain the citrus flavors, particularly orange and lemon with some notes of tamarind.
Silver medal winner in the last World Spirits Competition.
This distillate is a complex process and the Mezcal should rest for more than 12 months.
In new French white oak barrels, to obtain a bright amber color, intense smoked and woody aromas and a persistent and fine finish.
Mezcal in Playa del Carmen