Are you wondering exactly what is Mezcal? If that question is bouncing around in your mind, you're not alone!
In this post, we'll dive into all the details about Mezcal, from what it is to what it tastes like and where to buy it as well.
How Mezcal is Made
While both mezcal and tequila come from the agave plant, it's the process of making mezcal that gives this liquor its name.
To extract/distill the mezcal, the hearts of the agave plant are first roasted and smoked in large clay ovens. Once ready, the pulp (juice) is extracted and then distilled.
It's the cooking process that not only gives mezcal its distinct smoky taste but also its classification. After that, the liquid is put into clay pots to begin the distillation process.
Related: Tequila vs. Mezcal
What Does Mezcal Taste Like
Mezcal has a distinct smoky taste that's completely different than tequila. Whether you sip mezcal or you mix it into a drink, this smoky/oaky aftertaste shines through.
Personally, I was not a big mezcal fan at the beginning. It was definitely an acquired taste that grew on me as I tried more mezcal drink recipes.
Is Mezcal Good for Sipping?
Mezcal is the perfect slow sipper. You can pour a serving over ice, on the rocks, or at room temperature straight from the bottle.
It's also great to add to mixed drinks as well, so the versatility of Mezcal is quite nice.
Is Mezcal Good Straight?
Good quality mezcal is delicious when served straight or "neat." All you have to do is pour a small amount into a shot glass or a lowball glass and sip away.
Let the sip sit in your mouth for a few seconds to really enjoy the smoky flavor.
Types of Mezcal
Mezcal can be made from one or many agave plant varieties. The rarer the variety, the more exclusive and often expensive the price. Within the varieties, there are three types of Mezcal to explore and enjoy: Mezcal, Mezcal Artesanal, and Mezcal Ancestral.
Day-to-day common mezcal is usually referred to as "mezcal," and bottles will be labeled as Mezcal only.
Mezcal Artesanal is artisan-made or extracted by hand, where the entire process is done manually, and no mechanical machinery has been used in the process.
Ancestral Mezcal is where the milling is done by hand or by crushing the pulp with stones and smoking it in wood-fired clay pots. There's no stainless steel allowed in the process, and it's considered to be the original method of extraction and distilling as done by the "ancestors."
Where to Buy Mezcal
With the recent growth of demand for Mezcal, more and more, it's easy to find at many liquor stores and some supermarkets.
If you're thinking of purchasing mezcal online, consider a reputable source for spirits.
Cocktails Using Mezcal
Even though many enjoy mezcal by itself, it's a terrific mixer for specialty drinks and cocktails, especially if you're new to the smoky taste. Here are some terrific cocktails to get you started:
- Mezcal Margarita: everyone's classic drink taken up a notch with the delicious smoky taste. Whether you sweeten it with cocktail syrup or not, you must not miss this classic drink.
- Mezcal & Grapefruit Cocktail: the perfect refreshing drink to enjoy the mezcal with. It sips easily, is not overly sweet, and pairs great with anything!
- Mezcal Maria: meet the Mexican cousin of a good bloody Mary. Everything you love about this brunch staple, but better.
- Mezcal Sunrise: the perfect way to learn to love the smoky aftertaste of this delicious alcohol.