What is mezcal?

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If you are not a big drinker then you probably never have heard of mezcal. Although mezcal is becoming more popular for its taste and strength, why such popularity? We are going to explore what a mezcal is and how you can find your favorite one. Also we are going to look at some fun facts of mezcal.

Where does mezcal come from?

Mezcal comes from mexicali and means oven cooked agave. Mezcal is mostly made in Oaxaca Mexico, but can also be made in San Luis Potosi, Tamaulipas, Durango, Guanajuato, Zacatecas. There is a saying about mezcal that is “para toda mal, mezcal, y para todo bien , tambien”. which means for everything bad, mezcal, as for everything good also. Back in the days of the Spanish conquest, the conquistadors started to experiment with the agave plant to see what they could all do with it. The result that came out of it was mezcal. It has been used by many cultures throughout history including the Aztecs. In fact, there were so many different types of mezcal that people had no idea where one type ended and another began. So when someone says something like “Mexican mezcal” or even “tequila mezca”, these two words mean completely different. But if you know anything about mezcal, you will understand this statement. A lot of things go into making a great mezcal. Some say that it’s very sweet while others. Others say it’s spicy. And others say it’s just right. You need to add other ingredients to make an (onions, garlic, cumin, jalapote, cilantro, salt, vinegar, lemon juice, chipotle de coco, etc. etc.)

The history of mezcal

The agave plant was once one of the most sacred plants in Mexico and was highly used in religious rituals. The cooking of pina or the heart of the plant and fermenting its juice was practiced. Although this drink has an interesting myth. It has been said that long ago a lightning bolt struck an agave plant opening it and cooking it. and releasing its juice. For that the liquid is called the elixir of the Gods.

The agave plant is part of the agavaceae plant family which has nearly 200 species. When the agave plant has matured it forms a pina or heart in the middle of the plant from which the juice that is made into mezcal comes from.

The word mezcal derives from the Mexican word miel. The first written mention of mezcal appears in 1519. The name of the drink is derived from the Aztec word mezcali meaning “the drink of the gods”. The word mezcal is now used as a generic term for any type of distilled spirit.

How to make mezcal

Mescal is usually prepared using either a pot still or pressurized distillation method. Mescal is best enjoyed neat and diluted 1:1 with water. To prepare mezcal use 3 parts corn sugar to 2 parts mezcal solids. If you want to reduce the amount of alcohol, simply dilute the mezcal down further. This process takes anywhere between 5-10 minutes depending on how much time you put into the preparation. Once the mixture has cooled down, strain it through cheesecloth and store it in the refrigerator until ready to serve. When making mezcal, you should always use fresh agave. If you buy pre-made mezcal, it may contain additives that may affect the flavor. You do not want to compromise the taste and the integrity of the mezcal. You want to be sure that you are following the ingredients to a T. Now that you have your mezcal made, pull up some chairs with your friends or family and let the night bring fun and good times for you.

Story by Jacob Maslow

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