Mezcal Lauderdale 2022 (recap)
Mezcal is a distilled spirit made from the agave plant. It is often compared to tequila, but there are several key differences between the two. Mezcal is produced from a variety of agave plants, whereas tequila can only be made from the blue agave. Additionally, mezcal is known for its smoky flavor, which comes from the roasting of the agave plants before distillation.
Mezcal has a long and rich history in Mexico, dating back to pre-Columbian times. The indigenous peoples of Mexico believed that the agave plant was a gift from the gods and used it for a variety of purposes, including food, fiber, and medicine. They also used the fermented juice of the agave plant to create a rudimentary form of mezcal.
Over time, the production of mezcal became more refined, and it became a staple of Mexican culture. Today, there are several regions in Mexico that are known for their mezcal production, including Oaxaca, Durango, and Guerrero.
The production of mezcal is a labor-intensive process that requires great skill and attention to detail. The agave plants are first harvested and their leaves are removed to reveal the piña, or heart, of the plant. The piñas are then roasted in an underground pit, which gives the mezcal its characteristic smoky flavor.
After roasting, the piñas are crushed to extract the juice, which is then fermented in large wooden vats. The fermentation process can take several days, during which time the yeast in the juice converts the sugars into alcohol.
The fermented juice is then distilled in copper or clay stills to create mezcal. The resulting spirit can be bottled immediately, or it can be aged in oak barrels for several years to create a smoother, more complex flavor.
One of the things that sets mezcal apart from other spirits is its terroir, or sense of place. The agave plants used to make mezcal are grown in a variety of different soils and climates, which can greatly affect the flavor of the resulting spirit. Additionally, the production methods used by different mezcaleros can also influence the flavor of their mezcal.
In recent years, mezcal has become increasingly popular around the world, thanks in part to its unique flavor profile and rich history. It is often sipped neat, but can also be used in a variety of cocktails. As a mezcal lover, I believe that this fascinating spirit will continue to captivate drinkers for generations to come.