One's man's take on Mezcal…the new vodka?
on 16/12/10 at 10:42 amSpirits
Tequila’s lesser known sister, mezcal, is beginning to find popularity in the world of artisan cocktails. While related to tequila — in as much as it’s distilled from agave — there are some key differences between the two.
Similar but different
This article from Southern California Public Radio offers up a good overview of the smoky liquor from Oaxaca:
“Later, at a restaurant, Martinez takes out a mezcal bottle in a woven palm leaf sleeve with no label. He’s just brought it back from Oaxaca. He offers me a taste. It’s smooth as it blankets my tongue and potent as it tingles my scalp. This mezcal’s smoky nuances are nothing like the gasoline-harsh touristy bottles with the dormant worm that I swore off years ago.”
Todd Richman of Frederick Wildman and Sons is helping lots of other people get acquainted or re-acquainted with tequila’s southern cousin – also born of the agave plant. He markets a new brand of handcrafted mezcal from small producers in Oaxaca.
Richman says mezcal appeals to people in search of an artisan-distilled spirit that’s not mass produced. “It’s very different from tequila in that the agave is cut up after it’s harvested and roasted underground and smoked, and some are smoked heavier than others, and they’re all very different styles it’s from village to village. It’s closer to wine,” Richman says.
Did you read that? Sure enough. It says it’s roasted and smoked underground, which means that it will have a strong smoky flavor. Apparently this is what turns a large number of people off on the liqueur. Also, at 80 proof, it’s a bit strong, so I would imagine you need to tread a bit lightly. Despite these caveats offered by the casual drinkers around the web — and its association with frat guys named Turtle getting hammered over spring break — it seems mezcal is making its way back. Some have even gone so far as to call it the new “vodka.”