The liquid labyrinth of perception
The authentic Mezcal is not only a Mexican sanctuary, but also a distillate of very high complexity manufactured by indigenous people since more than 200 years. The Spanish conquerors demonised and prohibited the making of Mezcal. Thus it is fortunately due to some hard headed idealists and culinary guerrillas that it still can be found. We grateful owe this to these eccentrics that Mezcal now has found its way into the best restaurants throughout the world.
But what is Mezcal exactly?
Mezcal is the final product of fermented distilled agave juice. Traditionally they are about 39 different kinds of agaves to produce Mezcal. The name “Mezcal” originates in Nahuatl, a native language of several indigenous peoples. The name for agave product differs from region to the other. The most famous Mezcal is Tequila from Jalisco.
So, Tequila is a special sort of Mezcal, whereas we can never say Mezcal is a sort of Tequila.
During the last century Tequila has been extremely industrialised and thus become the most popular Mexican alcoholic drink. Mezcal, however, kept closed to its origin and is being still produced in small manufactories. Due to this Mezcal retained its unique quality.
And to make it even more clear: Mezcal is not a kind of Tequila with a worm inside. And you wouldn’t find any inchworm (hypopta agavis) inside of a high class Mezcal and certainly no psychoactive effects. And, of course, Mezcal has not anything to do with Mescaline, either. However, whether Mezcal has any psychoactive or aphrodisiac effects will be found out soon enough, round about 30 seconds after the first sip went down your throat.
The making of Mezcal is a fascinating act astonishing experts yet again. The technic of producing Mezcal has been passed on from one Mescalero Family to the other for hundreds of years. No measuring instruments or devices and no chemical additives and not even electricity were at hand. Only the ancient knowledge and experience led this divine distillate stay alive for centuries. After reaping the right ones, the agaves will be cut into rough pieces, put into huge grand holes and then boiled under glowing fire in order to eliminate sugar. Then after scooping them out again, the agaves will be squelched by millstones with the help of draught cattle. The air is full of caramel and cinnamon then.
The must of the agaves squelched will be collected in huge wooden vats without addicting other yeasts. The fermentation process continues, the must starts releasing CO2 and reaches an alcoholic content of 5%. It is time to start the distillation. This is a process of high complexity, now summarise shortly.
The vessels for distillation are made of copper or clay fired with wood. Mezcal will be distilled twice or three times.
Mezcal does not need any special glass to be drunk, however a wide open glass is the best as much air can reach the surface. Mezcal does not have to be cooled, that just would hide its unique taste that reveals itself fully at room temperature.
The first sip tastes earthy and smoky, followed by caramel and agave juice. You will also find the taste of lemon, spearmint, fig, marzipan, vanilla, honey and mango. Only young Mezcal – joven – will grant you these kinds of aroma. Whereas Mezcal of older age matured in wooden barrels has of course a different flavour.
Warning: Keep your hands off Mezcal that has an inchworm or any other insect.
We are really in love with Mezcal. Mezcal is unique, mysterious, mythical and strange. The Mescaleros say that Mezcal is angry. The agaves are violently uprooted, cut into pieces, mashed up and finally boiled and earned therefore the right to be revolted
We happened to notice that the Mescaleros would erect small crosses on this huge mounds while cooking the must in order to keep the devil away. But then again we were told that some other Mescaleros would rather leave them off to let it in….
To be enraptured by Mezcal is an outstanding experience, beyond heaven and hell. It carries an hidden promise of joy and bliss inside.
Mezcal – religious and atheist at the same time, ecstatic, sexless.