History of Mezcal
Mezcal (Mescal) is a distilled spirit made from the maguey plant. The maguey is a form of the Agave plant famous for the production of Tequila; the name Mezcal is a derivation of two central Mexican words. “Metl” and “Ixcalli” which together mean Oven cooked agave.
There is some evidence to suggest that the native population was distilling in Mexico before the arrival of the Spanish Conquest. However, the first concrete proof of Mezcal is from the Spanish. The Spaniards were introduced to pulque, an alcoholic beverage made from the maguey plant, and soon began to distill this into the first mescals.
The native Mexicans held the maguey in high esteem as a sacred plant and used it in many religious ceremony. The myth was that a lightening bolt struck the plant, cooked it and released the juice. The liquid was known as the “elixir of the gods”. Cooking the heart of the plant (piña) and fermenting the juice became a common practice in many of the native rituals.
The Spanish continued to distill the fermented maguey juice and encouraged its production as a form of tax revenue, this led to many problems with drunkenness and disorder. Foreigners travelling in Mexico during the late 1700s and early 1800s often mention the high potency of the local mescal.
- Styles of Mezcal vary from region to region and producer to producer. They all share an inherent smoky quality brought on by the production process. Some types of Mezcal have added fruits or herbs during fermentation or during distillation which add nuances of flavor to the final drink.
- White Mezcal
Clear spirit which has seen little aging.
- Dorado Mezcal
This is White Mezcal with a coloring added.
- Reposado Mezcal
This Mezcal will be aged in wood barrels for between 2 and 9 months.
- Añejo Mezcal
Aged a minimum of 12 months. However the best versions of these will generally be aged for 2 or 3 years.