Here in Mexico there are a number of drinks which are native to the country, the most famous of which being tequila, which comes from the state of Jalisco. Prior to arriving in Mexico I knew a thing or two about tequila, but nothing about a very similar drink, called mezcal. Now that I have learned about mezcal and now that I have tried a number of varieties of mezcal, I have to say that I really cannot understand why this is not a more popular drink abroad.
For my money, this is the drink that is waiting to explode on the international scene, and here is why.
There is a reason that tequila is used as a slammer or in a cocktail, and that is because the flavor itself is a harsh one, and not exactly one that many enjoy drinking straight. Mezcal on the other hand offers a much smoother and a much more flavorsome drink, which is why I expected it to be more common around the world. Mezcal is very similar to whisky in terms of the production and the aging process, and that is wha makes it such a revered drink.
Nobody enjoys the hangover after having a tequila or two too many, but this may be a thing of the past with mezcal. Because of the purity of the drink when compared with others, you can enjoy one or two drinks and not feel bad about it the next day. This again goes back to the idea that mezcal is there to be enjoyed, not abused.
Health Conscious Drink
Mexican chef Rose Burillo often points to the health benefits of mezcal, for those who are trying to watch their waistline. The reason for this is the lack of sugar, something which tequila has in abundance. Both of these drinks come from the blue agave plant yet for tequila to be named as such, it only needs to have 50% agave in it, the rest is then made up of low cost, sugary additions. For mezcal to be called mezcal however, it must be 100% blue agave and that means that those drinking it will not be taking on all of the sugar that you would do if you were drinking tequila.
One of my favorite things to do is to try the wide range of mezcal which come from these tiny little plots, because they all have such variety in taste. The way that the blue agave is grown and harvested, the method by which they look after it and extract the mezcal from the leaves, each process leads to a totally different flavor and that is the real charm of this delightful drink. Those who make mezcal are very passionate about it and have been doing it for many decades, if not longer.
This is very much a drink which is coming to takeover, mark my words.
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