Everyting about Mezcal!
Everyting about Mezcal!
Mezcal is a Mexican spirit quite close to Tequila, but with some peculiar differences.Mezcal: raw material As for Tequila, Mezcal raw material is agave. There can be up to eigth different species of agave in Mezcal, but the most usual is the agave espadin, or agave angustifolia haw. The other difference in about production: Mezcal is only from 100% agave “juice”, no added sugar - Tequila can have up to 49% of added sugar (the less the sugar, the better the Tequila). Mezcal: the “recipe” While the Tequila is only from Jalisco, Mezcal is produced all over the rest of Mexico The Mezcal’s “worm”... You can frequently find in a Mezcal bottle a “worm”: the "Gusano", a larva of a nocturnal butterfly which lives on the agaves plant. The Mezcal production is frequently completely handcrafted by small local distilleries: usually even the bottles are handcrafted! :-) As for Tequila,for Mezcal we talk about the agave’s piñas and how they are cooked in underground ovens. The history of agave, and so of Mezcal and Tequila, dates to Aztecs and Mayas, and the agave is still well rooted in the Mexican tradition and culture: in the arid Mexican environment the agava leaves - so rich of water - were an important source of livelihood along livestock transumance. But let’s go back to the Mezcal production: The are cooked in the underground ovens for 3 / 5 days. Piñas are then crushed under press by animal workforce. The sugary juice then is fermented by yeasts, and distilled using pot stills. The first distillation product is the xixi, at 20 / 25 alcohol percentage. With the second distillation we finally have the Mezcal at 60 alcohol percentage. The pot stills are quite small: no more than 250 liters; the outcome is 50 liters of Mezcal - finished product. As usual for the discontinuous distillation, the “head” and the “tail” of the distillation are lost. Usually the Mezcal doesn’t undergo aging, but this is the outcome of the aging regulation: Mezcal Joven: not aged;Reposado: it “reposes” in (usually) american barrels for few months;Anejo: at least one year in barrels. Natural food coloring is admitted: herbs and roots, honey, caramel from cane sugar. The Gusano: not only in Mezcal… The agave worm is a Mexican delicatessen as well, served fried and salted, along with chilli peppers. According to tradition the Gusano is hallucinogen and aphrodisiac. The legend tells that the Gusano is connected to Mayatl (the name of 'agave in some Mexico areas), Goddess of fertility who feeds with Mezcal her worshippers by her 40 thousand (!!!) breasts. Once upon a time Mayatl felt the Gusano growing in her heart. The Gusano made her very excited and she fell in love for one of her breast - Mezcal - feeded worshippers, a warrior. As love between mortals and immortals is impossible, Mayatl donated the Gusano to the warrior, who became a god eating it. They were quite happy ever after him becoming a god, as, Gusano propelled, he could love the goddess uninterruptedly for seven days and seven nights… Fancy a bit of Mezcal now..? ;-)