What is mezcal and why you need to sip it right now

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Mezcal is a smoky Mexican spirit made from agave plants. Its unique flavors and cultural significance make it a must-try for any spirits enthusiast

Mezcal is making waves in the world of spirits, offering a captivating alternative to traditional tequila.

 

What is mezcal and why you need to sip it right now

Whether savored neat or incorporated into cocktails, this agave-based elixir promises a journey of flavors and experiences that appeal to modern palates.

 

But what exactly sets mezcal apart, and why is it garnering such attention? Marshall Minaya, beverage director of Lolita in Manhattan, defines mezcal as any distilled beverage derived from the agave plant, with production primarily concentrated in Mexico's designated regions. However, it's the spirit's intricate flavors and artisanal production methods that truly captivate enthusiasts.

 

In understanding mezcal, it's essential to distinguish it from its cousin, tequila. Richie Barrow, from Hero Bar in Nairobi, explains that while tequila is a subset of mezcal, the former is strictly made from blue agave and must adhere to specific production regulations. Mezcal, on the other hand, embraces a broader range of agave varieties and production techniques, resulting in a diverse spectrum of flavors influenced by factors like region and elevation.

 

The production process further distinguishes mezcal, with traditional methods involving roasting agave hearts in underground pits, imparting a signature smoky essence. Bruno Sanchez, from The Alida in Savannah, elaborates on mezcal's artisanal approach, contrasting it with tequila's industrialized methods.

 

When selecting mezcal, authenticity is paramount. Sanchez advises consumers to seek out bottles bearing certification labels like "Denominación de Origen" (DO) or "Comisión Reguladora del Mezcal" (CRM) to ensure quality and origin. Cristhian Rodriguez, beverage director at elNico Restaurant and Bar, emphasizes the importance of 100% agave content and traditional production techniques in discerning high-quality mezcal.

 

To cater to individual preferences, mezcal offers a range of smokiness levels, from subtle to intense. James Grant, from the Fairmont Royal York, highlights the spirit's versatility, making it accessible to a broad audience.

 

As mezcal continues to gain popularity, a diverse array of options awaits enthusiasts. From the herbaceous notes of Mezcal Amarás Cupreata to the smoky complexity of Dos Hombres Joven Mezcal, each bottle offers a unique tasting experience. Whether enjoyed neat or mixed into cocktails, mezcal invites exploration and celebration of Mexico's rich cultural heritage.


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What is mezcal and why you need to sip it right now
Mezcal is a smoky Mexican spirit made from agave plants. Its unique flavors and cultural significance make it a must-try for any spirits enthusiast
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