I've never had Mezcal before but I was curious...
This place was special.... Old masks and antiques were on the walls... People hanging about, talking...
And they only serve the best of Mezcal.
The bartender, Leon, told me to try the flight of three types of Mezcal.
I noticed that they were much smoother and the flavor was more subtle than most tequilas that I've tried.
First lesson about Mezcal:
Never compare Mezcal to Tequila.
Mezcal is more elegant. Mezcal has more flavor and is a classy drink.
Tequila is not.
I continued talking to Leon and he gave me the rundown about Mezcal.
The other people in the room chimed in their opinions.
I became good friends with a chef, Jose Luis and a photographer named Francisco.
Everyone was so nice and welcoming. We were laughing and talking, feeling great.
What a great night!
A few days later, I ended up staying at Jose Luis' house and he spoke about going on a tour of the Mezcal distilleries outside of Oaxaca.
I said, "Lets go".... And off we went.
What is Mezcal?
Mezcal is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from the Agave plant that is grown in Mexico.
The distillation process stems back to the early 1800's in Oaxaca, Mexico and today there are multiple variations of this technique that are being used throughout Oaxaca.
Mezcal is particular to the state of Oaxaca. If its not made in Oaxaca, Its not Mezcal.
One thing that you must know is that it's not tequila.
As you scroll through the photos below you will see how they harvest the Agave plant and pull out the large root which sort of looks like giant pineapples.
Eating the worm
Map of where we went.
The Agave roots are then chopped up and placed in this fire pit. The process is long and hard because they have to place these large stones on top of the plants to create an oven-like effect.
After cooking the Agave and removing the stones the sugars in the Agave are carmelized. They place the cooked Agave on a stone crushed that is powered by a horse. This crushed the plant pieces and turns it into stringy fibers. From there, they transfer it into fermentation pits.
In this room the sour smell of fermentation was very strong. This one distillery had 3 different aged fermentation pits. After the fermentation process, it all gets tranferred to the distillation area where it gets process and distilled into a small jug.
We got a little crazy by the end of the day. I ate a few Mezcal worms that pop in your mouth. Interesting taste and feeling.
We were laughing, being silly, and having a good time.
I wasnt too messed up to drive and by the time we got back to Oaxaca I had a piano gig at this bar but was so exhausted. I still did the gig but it was a tough night.