If you enjoy a smoky Isla single malt then there is a distinct possibility you’ll enjoy Mezcal. I’m not talking about the mass produced ‘Monte Alban’ complete with a dead worm that can be found next to the Jose Cuervo gold Tequila in every heavily themed Mexican restaurant. I’m talking about family-made, artisan Mezcals from the tiny villages of Oaxaca where Mezcal has been produced in the same way for 100’s of years. Over the past 5 years, these products have slowly started moving over the Mexican border and are now available in the UK thanks to companies such as Del Maguey who’s founder Ron Cooper has been locating, bottling and distributing artisan Mezcals since 1995.
Mezcal differs from Tequila in the fact that it can be made from any variety of agave cacti rather than just the Blue Agave that Mexican law restricts Tequila to. The production method is also quite different than that of Tequila, the agave hearts are slowly cooked in fire pits rather than the steam ovens used when making Tequila, this imparts huge amounts of smokey flavor into these Mezcals which is why they resemble smoky whiskies such as Laphroaig, Ardbeg or Caol Ila.
If you really want to try something totally different how about a ‘Pechuga’ Mezcal distilled using various meats. This age old process puts the Mezcal through the still for a third distillation during which, fruits, spices and rice are added to the still along with raw meat which is hung in the still and is said to balance out the flavor as evaporating Mezcal passes through it. Chicken or Turkey breast are the most commonly used meats, which is where the name ‘Pechuga’ originates from (it means breast in Spanish) however rabbit, venison and even cured pork can also be used.
As always The Plough embraces quality artisan products from around the globe and we have just introduced a range of Tequila and Mezcal for you to try. Choose from a single estate Tequila Blanco or Reposado (lightly oak aged) displaying all the intense characteristics of the Blue Agave Plant or take the opportunity to experience a meaty Mezcal, we have two on offer from the acclaimed Del Maguey range. Iberico or chicken? Just don’t expect a dead worm!
Blog By: James Thewlis.@jamesthewlis
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