Mezcal

Photo By - Graeme Churchard

Photo By – Graeme Churchard

Mezcal is one of the most unique beverage originated in Mexico. It is a distilled alcohol drink made from fermented cooked Agave. It is categorized according to its maturity age. Joven has a maturity age upto  2 months, reposado has a maturity age between 61 days upto 1 year, anejo has a maturity age from 1 to 3 years and extra añejo is more than 3 years old.

There are two types of Mezcal beverage. Type one is sold as pure agave or contains 100% agave and type two, commonly known as mixto mezcal, contains 80% agave. Sometimes, mezcal drink is sold with a worm in it. Why a worm in a drink? The mezcal worm is of two types; gusano rojo and gusano de oro and neither has psychotropic properties nor adverse effects on human beings. The worm is added to mezcal bottles to mask the chemical taste of a poorly made drink and lock in the favor of the spirit.

Mezcal and tequila are made from agave, but they are different. What makes mezacal different from tequila?

Mezcal and tequila are made in different regions. Mezcal is produced in specific Mexican regions, Oaxaca, Guanajuato, Tamaulipas, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas, Durango and Guerrero with the majority of it being produced in Oaxaca. Tequila is produced in Jalisco, Michoacán, Tamaulipas, Guanajuato and Nayarit with Jalisco as the capital of Tequila.

Tequila is only produced from a species of agave called Blue Agave or Tequilana weber. Mezcal can be produced from over 30 different species of agave, including Tequilana weber, which gives it a variety of flavors. This is why tequila is a form of mezcal but mezcal is not a form of tequila.

The production processes of tequila and mezcal differ. The pina, heart of the agave, is baked in steam ovens or pressure cookers in the production process of tequila. For most mezcals, the pina is roasted in an underground pit filled with wood and volcanic rocks. This process gives mezcal its distinct smoky flavor.

How do you drink mezcal? The beverage can be enjoyed in many ways. Most people tame the spirit into special cocktails such as the palomaesque cocktail and others drink it straight.

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