Wo steckt der Wurm - die 10 wichtigsten Mezcal Fakten - Pacific & Lime

Where's the worm - the 10 most important Mezcal facts

Smoky, strong and resinous: this is the answer to the question “What does mezcal taste like”. But there is much more to this drink than just an exquisite taste. The best mezcal are elaborately crafted with a large amount of handwork to bring out an inimitable aroma. They are based on traditional recipes and manufacturing processes that go back centuries. Mezcal is a piece of Mexico, a piece of history and a piece of quality of life. It's time to rediscover this time-honored drink.

Back to the roots: Mezcal as the original form of tequila

The Mexican spirit Mezcal is made from fermented, cooked agave hearts. That's why the spirit got its name. In the Aztec language Nahuatl, "mezcalli from metl" means agave and "ixcalli" means cooked. This makes cooked agave. Today it is produced in nine Mexican states, with a focus on Oaxaca. The high-proof drink is essentially the original form of tequila, as a wide variety of types of agave can be used to produce mezcal. This is exactly where the distinction to tequila lies, because distilleries are only allowed to use agave tequilana Weber. Anyone who sees a flaw in this is showing ignorance: Excellent mezcal is a quality product that does not have to hide behind any single malt. And let’s dispel another prejudice at this point. The worm in some mezcal is just a marketing gimmick and not a sign of quality - quite the opposite.

Mezcal: the traditional hipster with an Aztec soul

The history of mezcal dates back to the Aztecs before Spanish colonization in the 15th century. From weddings to funerals: over the centuries, the agave spirit has not been missing from any social event. What is all the more astonishing is that it has only been since the 1990s that mezcal has slowly started to receive the recognition it deserves around the world. On the one hand, this is thanks to the strict, official regulations on mezcal that have been passed since the 1990s. On the other hand, more and more excellent distilleries popped up that took on the rough, traditional drink. Today they are releasing a first-class mezcal that has long had a safe place at the bar in trendy bars around the world.

How is Mezcal drunk?

The Mexicans drink their mezcal straight because they appreciate its smoky taste and therefore carefully sip this fermented agave heart. Traditionally, mezcal is served in a jicara , which makes the taste experience even more authentic. If you like, you can complement the fine enjoyment with fruits or spices that harmonize par excellence with the smoke aroma. Most mezcal comes from the region around the city of Oaxaca, where a combination of the drink with orange and roasted grasshoppers is popular. If this seems too strange for you, snack on a lime and the Sal de Gusano. The latter spice consists mainly of chili salt and the powder of dried, crushed agave caterpillars. The European connoisseur often likes to stick to the pure, pure enjoyment without any spicy accompaniments, which there is nothing wrong with. If you want to use the spirit primarily for mixing cocktails , you should choose Espadin Mezcal .

Different agave hearts beat for mezcal

The mezcal can be distilled from any Mexican agave variety. For this reason, a breathtaking variety of tastes is achieved because the respective microclimate affects the aroma. There's no question about it: anyone who discovers mezcal will never get bored. Quality-conscious distilleries have recognized the possibilities and are relying on exciting agave varieties such as Agave Coyote (agave karwinskii latrans) or Agave Espadín (agave angustifolia).

The best mezcal: quality levels and product classes

Global spirits sales amount to 35 billion liters. Of this, gin alone accounts for 820 million liters, while mezcal only accounts for six million liters. This makes it a true gem. The quality of the drink is supported by the Consejo Regulador del Mezcal, which issued new regulations for three hierarchical mezcal categories in 2016/17:

  • Mezcal Industrial: Production using modern mechanical processes
  • Mezcal Artesanal: mostly handcrafted
  • Mezcal Ancestral: completely original and without electricity

Around 86% of the Artesanal class, 13% Industrial and 1% Ancestral are exported.

In addition, there are official product classes that are based on the level of maturity:

  • Joven/Blanco: white mezcal with a maximum storage period of two months
  • Reposado: Storage period of at least 60 days in wooden barrels
  • Añejo: Storage period of at least one year
  • Abocado: short-aged mezcal, subsequently processed with coloring or flavorings

It is worth noting that Joven accounts for the majority of the goods produced, 81%. This is followed by Reposado with 7% and Añejo with 2%. Why? The answer lies in botany. The mezcal is so complex that it is ready to drink after around seven years of aging in nature. Storage is not necessary to have a perfect, full taste experience.

Mezcal: an economic engine of a region

The majority of mezcal comes from the state of Oaxaca, where around 35,000 families rely on it directly or indirectly. It has become a real economic factor, although harvesting the agave and producing the finished drink requires a lot of hard physical labor. The income it generates feeds entire villages - especially when it comes from production that pays fair wages. Many of the mezcaleros are not greedy and only produce a few hundred liters of mezcal per month. They know about the risks that overproduction would entail for the environment and ultimately for people.

No chance for excess and carelessness

Sustainability is the keyword of our new millennium - also with regard to mezcal production. The increase in importance of the drink on the world market could lead to the expansion of monocultures across the board and overharvesting of wild stocks. Responsible mezcaleros therefore rely on sustainable cultivation and fair prices for the workers. They ensure that our descendants can still enjoy this clear, full-bodied drink. In this way, mezcal becomes a spirit that stands for harmony, environmental awareness and progress with a firm focus on ancient traditions.

Noble Coyote: the best of the wild

There is something mystical and rudimentary about the production of mezcal. Nevertheless, or perhaps precisely because of this, with a lot of specialist knowledge, experience and passion, a spirit can be created that is full of robust exclusivity. That's exactly what Noble Coyote does. Under this striking name, distinctive, elegant mezcal are released that pamper the palate. As a responsible company, Noble Coyote's different Mezcal variants meet high standards in terms of sustainability. In addition, the company shows its high quality in its product focus: it concentrates on pure agave spirits.

Feel the true soul of Mexico

Mezcal is the true soul of Mexico. It is full-bodied like a single malt and diverse like the world of wines. Its originality and robustness fascinates, enchants and seduces. But, as with everything good in life, there are also dark sides to mezcal. By drinking responsibly and choosing a mezcal from sustainable cultivation, you can enjoy this treasure without any worries. Is your curiosity piqued? Embark on a culinary adventure trip to Mexico!

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