Drinking mezcal

Guide to your first mezcal

We all have our favorite spirits that we like to drink or take shots of. But just think for a second your a popular fun mexican bar with your friends you know what kind of drinks and shots you want. Suddenly the bartender hands you all a menu with just mezcal beverages options. You looked shocked. You are a tequila enthusiast, you know everything about tequila but you know nothing about mezcal. Don’t worry your friends probably don’t know much about it either. That’s ok though the bartender should know the best mezcal.

Mezcal has been around for a long time but is fairly new to the United States. So how do you decide what kind of mezcal you should try? Are you going to love it or hate it? Is it going to take the place of tequila? We are going to explore how to try mezcal for the first time.

The History Of Mezcal

Mezcal is a Mexican spirit made from agave nectar. It is distilled from the fermented juice of the agave plant. The process of making mezcal is called distillation. The agave plant is native to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula where they grow in large plantations known as “cenotes”. These cenotes are located along rivers and streams which provide water for the plants. When the water evaporates, the liquid leaves behind a sweet smelling vapor. The vapor then condenses into a clear liquid known as mezcal. 

The first distillation of mezcal was done in the early 1800s by the Spanish conquistadors. The Spanish were looking for a way to make alcohol from the plant. They found out that when the plant dried up there would be an abundance of sugar crystals within its stalks. After drying the stalks, they discovered that the crystals contained a small amount of alcohol. The Spaniards named this new liquor, mezcal.

First time drinking mezcal- You definitely do not want to just go with the most expensive thing, you want to start out small we recommend that you try espadin, the most popular mezcal out in production.

Ignore the worm idea. You have probably seen on tv or in the movies that if you swallow the worm you’ll hallucinate. Mezcal experts say that simply is a myth and if you find a warm in your mezcal bottle it probably is not a very good mezcal.

Do you want the smoke? Because mezcal is made by roasting the agave in an underground pit you get a smokey flavor, but not all mezcals are super smokey. You can get faint smokey to in your face smokey.

Don’t shoot- You definitely do not want to take a shot of mezcal. It is much better to enjoy it and sip it slowly. It’s not made to be like tequila. And is actually a bit classier than its cousin tequila.

Mix it- Try mixing it with your favorite beverages. Mezcal Margaritas, Mezcal mules, Mezcal sunrise. It will give you a new sensation that you probably don’t want to let go.

When choosing your mezcal you should talk to an expert especially if it is your first time. With more and more restaurants in the United States incorporating mezcal on their menu there are a lot of different places you can find. We recommend that you go with a group where you can do a tasting party where you try all the different mezcals they have. Just be careful because mezcal is high in its ABV it is recommended that you “kiss the mezcal” lets your lips touch it first and then slowly sip some of it. You’ll get different notes from different mezcals and you will get faint to bold smoky flavor as well.

We hope that you got some good ideas on how to try your first mezcal. Now go out there and drink America’s new favorite spirit. But as always please drink responsibly.

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