What is the flavor of mezcal? It’s a type of agave spirit prepared by hand in Mexico. The flavor is smokey and velvety smooth. The underground furnaces used to roast the agave are responsible for the smokey flavor. If you’re unsure if mezcal is for you, here are a few ways to try it. How the agave is prepared determines the flavor of mezcal. Green agave has a smokey flavor, whereas roasted agave has a sweeter flavor. Mezcal that has been fermented has a very mild flavor. Although all mezcals are delicious, each one has a distinct flavor.
It has a herby vegetal flavor comparable to tequila and is usually greasy and smokey. The heart of the agave plant, the pines, are roasted in firepits before being brewed, giving mezcal a richer flavor than its more well-known sibling. Mezcal is an agave spirit manufactured from the agave plant. Some mezcals are smokier than others. The best mezcals are meticulously produced and necessitate considerable labor.
What is Mezcal?
Mezcal, like tequila, is created from agave, but not blue agave, and it comes from the Oaxaca region of Mexico rather than Jalisco. It’s far less commercial than tequila. It is primarily produced by small artisanal micro-distilleries, with pricing to match; at the very least, it avoids the worms, which are primarily a marketing ploy.
A distilled alcoholic spirit from Mexico with a somewhat smoky flavor, Mezcal is becoming increasingly popular on Phoenix, Flagstaff, and Tucson cocktail menus. More than 73 nations import two-thirds of the mezcal produced in Mexico. However, more than 70% of mezcal exports travel to the United States, where it is served in some of the hottest bars and restaurants and sold in specialty liquor stores.
So, while tequila is a form of mezcal, not all mezcal is. Mezcal is created from 50 distinct types of agave plants, but tequila is made from only one species of the agave plant (blue agave). Mezcal gets its smokey flavor from roasting the agave in pits in the ground, which gives it the depth and smokiness that tequila lacks. The agave flavor depends on the type of agave used and the region where it is grown. It has a herby vegetal flavor comparable to tequila and is usually greasy and smokey.
What does Mezcal Taste Like?
Mezcal has a powerful smoky flavor with rich, sweet overtones that linger. Because mezcal is manufactured from roasted agaves, it has a smokey flavor that varies depending on the brand. It can be overbearing, a smoke bomb, or extremely subtle. Years ago, inexpensive mezcal arrived in the United States with a reputation for tasting like gasoline or diesel fuel.
However, today’s artisanal mezcals come in a wide spectrum of flavors, with minor differences based on the type of agave used, the soil where the agave was grown, and how the mezcal was manufactured and matured.
What is the Process of Making Mezcal?
Mezcal is made from the hearts of agave plants that look like huge pineapples, or “pinas” in Spanish after their arms have been chopped off with machetes. Because of their high sugar content, the pinas are sliced in quarters and slow-roasted for days underground in earthen ovens coated with lava stones. To extract the juice, the pinas are roasted and then mashed under the weight of a big stone called a “tahona,” which looks like Fred Flintstone’s wheel and is dragged by a mule, horse, or ox.
The agave juice is fermented in enormous vats where wild yeast is drawn from the air. The fermented agave juice, which has a kombucha-like flavor, is distilled twice and three times in copper stills. During the final distillation, some producers hang spices, nuts, grains, and fruits inside the still to add varied notes and flavors produced by vapors. During the final round of distillation, a raw turkey or chicken breast is occasionally hung inside the still, partially to provide a mild poultry taste and partly as a sacrificial rite rooted in the ancient Indigenous tribes of southern Mexico. After the final distillation, the liquid that drips out of the opposite end of the still is mezcal.
The mezcal is now ready to be bottled once the alcohol content has been corrected. Mezcal that hasn’t been matured is referred to as “Joven” or “young” mezcal. Glass bottles or oak barrels are used by certain producers to mature mezcal. “Reposado” refers to mezcal that has matured for a shorter period. “Anejo” refers to mezcal that has matured for a longer time.
Is it Possible to Drink Mezcal Straight?
Without ice, the best way to drink mezcal is straight. The best way to appreciate the vibrant flavors and aromas of mezcal is to serve it straight up at room temperature. Swish a drink of water about in your mouth. This will clear your palate and give your taste buds a chance to acclimate to the scorching sensation.
Do You Prefer to Sip or Shot Mezcal?
It’s really cool. But “don’t shoot it,” advises Marco Ochoa, owner of Mezcaloteca, one of Oaxaca City’s most renowned mezcal establishments. Instead, he suggests inhaling the perfume like you would like a glass of wine before taking a little sip and swirling the liquid about in your mouth.
Why does Mezcal Cost So Much?
A bottle of mezcal can cost anywhere from $20 to $35 or more. Most mezcal produced in Mexico is artisanal, meaning it is made in small batches and primarily by hand. As a result, it costs more to produce than commercial-grade spirits.
Agaves, slow-growing plants that take years to mature, are also used to make mezcal. Grapes and corn, which are used to make wine and whiskey, can, on the other hand, be harvested once a year. Espadin, a domesticated agave most usually used in mezcal production, takes around six years to mature. However, some wild agaves used to make the most complex mezcals might take up to 30 years to grow. Furthermore, once the agave plant is harvested, it dies. A fresh agave plant must be grown from seed or cloned, which is a less sustainable option.
Is Mezcal Similar to Tequila?
Both yes and no. Tequila is mezcal made from only one agave species, the blue Weber. Tequila can only be made in Jalisco or in four other states: Guanajuato, Michoacan, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas, in select specified municipalities.
Several agaves are used to make mezcal, and Espadin, a domesticated agave, is the most frequent agave used to manufacture mezcal. Mezcal can also be made from a variety of wild agaves. The more expensive the mezcal, the rarer the agave. Mezcal is predominantly made in Oaxaca, a state in southern Mexico, but it can also be made in eight other states in select specified communities. Puebla, Durango, Guerrero, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas, Michoacan, Guanajuato, and Tamaulipas are the states in question.
Consider this: Tequila is a form of mezcal, similar to how champagne is a type of wine and cognac is a type of brandy.
On the other hand, Mezcal is not a form of tequila, and it’s made in a different way than tequila, with various agave types called “maguey” in Mexico.
The other significant difference is that, unlike tequila prepared from steamed agave, mezcal is manufactured from roasted agave, giving it a smokey flavor that tequila lacks.
Mezcal is a fantastic substitute for tequila. Although the mezcal is smoked, it does not necessarily have a smoky flavor. It might be chalky or flowery in flavor. Some mezcals have a sweet, creamy mouthfeel, while others are gritty or smokey. Mezcal is a great substitute for tequila, and it’s recommended to start with a small amount. Agave has a variety of properties that influence the final flavor of mezcal. To begin with, it has a burnt flavor, which is typical of smoked foods. It can also be fruity, sweet, or earthy.
The flavor of mezcal varies depending on the batch. Some of them have a smokey flavor, while others don’t. They’re incredibly complex and have a wide range of flavors. Although describing the flavor of mezcal is challenging, determining whether it is a smokey or sour drink is simple. Both styles are distinct, and the trick is to figure out what you enjoy.