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 is made with great effort and a great deal of handwork to produce an inimitable aroma. They are based on traditional recipes and production processes that go back centuries. Mezcal is a piece of Mexico, a piece of history and a piece of quality of life. It is 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. This is where the spirit got its name from. In the Aztec language Nahuatl, "mezcalli from metl" means agave and "ixcalli" means cooked. This results in cooked agave. Today it is produced in nine Mexican states, with the main focus being on Oaxaca. The high-proof drink is basically the original form of tequila, as a wide variety of agave species can be used to make mezcal. This is exactly where the distinction from tequila lies, as distilleries are only allowed to use the Agave tequilana Weber for it. Anyone who sees a flaw in this is showing ignorance: Excellent mezcal is a quality product that doesn't have to hide behind any single malt. And let's clear up 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 goes back to the Aztecs before Spanish colonization in the 15th century. From weddings to funerals: over the centuries, the agave spirit has been a staple at every social event. It is therefore all the more astonishing that mezcal has only slowly begun to receive the recognition it deserves worldwide since the 1990s. This is partly thanks to the strict, official regulations on mezcal that have been passed since the 1990s. On the other hand, more and more excellent distilleries have popped up to take on the rough, traditional drink. Today, they produce a first-class mezcal that has long had a secure place at the bar in trendy bars around the world.

How do you drink Mezcal?

Mexicans drink their mezcal neat because they appreciate its smoky taste and therefore sip this fermented agave heart carefully. Mezcal is traditionally served in a jicara , which makes the taste experience even more authentic. If you like, you can complement the fine pleasure with fruits or spices that harmonize par excellence with the smoky 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, try a lime and the sal de gusano. The latter spice consists mainly of chili salt and the powder of dried, chopped agave caterpillars. European connoisseurs often like to stick to the pure, unadulterated enjoyment without any spicy accompaniments, which is fine. If you want to use the spirit primarily for mixing cocktails , you should go for the Espadin mezcal .

Different agave hearts beat for Mezcal

Mezcal can be distilled from any Mexican agave variety. This means that a breathtaking variety of flavors is achieved, because the respective microclimate affects the aroma. There is no question about it: anyone who discovers mezcal for themselves will never get bored. Quality-conscious distilleries have recognized the possibilities and rely 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, 820 million liters are gin alone, while mezcal accounts for just 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 handmade
  • 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 based on the degree of maturity:

  • Joven/Blanco: white mezcal with a maximum storage period of two months
  • Reposado: Storage period at least 60 days in wooden barrels
  • Añejo: Storage period at least one year
  • Abocado: briefly matured Mezcal, subsequent processing with coloring or flavorings

It is noteworthy that the majority of the product produced is Joven (81%). This is followed by Reposado (7%) and Añejo (2%). Why? The answer lies in the botany. Mezcal is so complex that it is ready to drink after around seven years of maturing in nature. Storage is not necessary to have a perfect, full taste experience.

Mezcal: an economic engine of a region

Most of the mezcal comes from the state of Oaxaca, where around 35,000 families live off 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 profits from it feed entire villages - especially when they come 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 are aware of the risks that overproduction would bring to the environment and ultimately to people.

No chance for excess and carelessness

Sustainability is the key word of our new millennium - also with regard to mezcal production. The drink's increasing importance on the world market could lead to widespread monocultures 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 old traditions.

Noble Coyote: the best of the wild

There is something mystical and rudimentary about the production of mezcal. Despite this, or perhaps precisely because of this, with a lot of expertise, experience and passion, a spirit can be created that is full of robust exclusivity. This is exactly what Noble Coyote does. Under this striking name, distinctive, elegant mezcals are released that pamper the palate. As a responsible company, the different types of mezcal from Noble Coyote 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 as rich as a single malt and as diverse as the world of wine. Its originality and robustness fascinates, enchants and seduces. But, as with everything beautiful in life, there are also dark sides to mezcal. By drinking responsibly and choosing a mezcal from a sustainable cultivation, you can enjoy this treasure without worry. Has your curiosity been aroused? Embark on a culinary adventure to Mexico!

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