All Tequila is Mezcal, but not all Mezcal is Tequila.
Tequila, the more popular Mexican delicacy, is made out of the Blue Agave plant and is distilled in a specified geographical area, almost always in the state of Jalisco in central-west Mexico. In other words its origin is controlled by law just as Champagne. Mezcal is very similar to Tequila; however its process is not regulated; hence it comes from various types of Agave and can come from any region in Mexico. Most of it is produced and probably consumed in Oaxaca. It therefore has many more flavors, variations, and character at least in my opinion.
Mezcal is distilled from the fermented juice of eight types of agave plants. The plant usually grows for about 8 to 10 years when it reaches its sexual maturity and begins to grow a flower, which looks like giant asparagus. The farmers cut off the flower right when it begins to grow so the energy of the plant’s growth is redirected to its stem growing a bulb with sweet juicy pulp. This “piña” weighs anywhere from 10 to 50 kilograms. The pineapple is then baked in an underground wood charcoal heated oven for about 2-3 days. They are then crashed to extract the sweet juices. The liquid is than aged in a barrel and it takes approximately 7 tons of raw piña to produce 1,000 liters of mezcal, depending on the type of mezcal being produced.
There are three types of Mezcal, which are determined by aging. The white young Mezcal is unaged and stronger in flavor (although apparently less destructive on the drunkenness meter); “reposado” needs to be aged for at least two months; and “anejo” sit in the barrel between 18 months and three years.
The winning Mezcal is with no doubt Mezcaleria Los Amantes!!!
So what’s up with the worm? The worm “el guzano” that is sometimes found in the bottle of Mezcal is a larva of one of the two moths that live on the agave plant. On one hand it gives it a hint of flavor (although I don’t believe that one little bug can be that potent) but more importantly it is the proof check. If after bottling and shelf time, the worm stays intact it means that there is enough alcohol to preserve it (so who says that drinking is bad for you?). Guys….you CAN eat the worm, it will not make you “see things” but it’s actually not that bad and pure protein too.
Read more at Mexico Culinary Adventures.
Guide section: Leisure
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