April 20, 2016
The Hot New Spirit You Need To Know About
Food editor Kristen Eppich dishes on mezcal, a hot new spirit that’s similar to tequila.
Tequila fans everywhere, be on the lookout for the next big thing — mezcal. Mezcal is the smoky, artisanal relative of tequila. Where Tequila is produced from only Blue Agave, Mezcal is produced from various species of the agave plant, through different regions of Mexico, offering it a broad range of flavor profiles.
Making mezcal remains a very artisanal, small-batch process. In producing it, the piñas (the heart of the agave plants) are harvested and then brought to a smolder in earthen pits. Once roasted, they are then crushed, extracting the agave juices. The juices are then fermented and distilled. This process imparts the distinct smoky flavor that mezcal is known for. Try mezcal in our Smoky Bloody Mary recipe.
Buying Tip: Chef Manny Ferreira of the restaurant Mezcal in Hamilton says to always check the label when buying mezcal or tequila to ensure it is 100% agave. Many brands are labeled as tequila ‘blends’ which can include food coloring, fructose, and other spirits.