Showing posts with label Mezcal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mezcal. Show all posts

May 8, 2020

Mezcal vs. Tequila

Both spirits are distilled from agave plants, but tequila can only be distilled from certain agave plants. In order for a spirit to be legally advertised as tequila, it must be made from the Weber blue agave, and grown in specific territories recognized by the General Declaration on the Protection of the Appellation of Origin Tequila, as put forth by Mexico’s Tequila Regulatory Council.

Anything else made from the agave plant – even to near-identical standards – is a mezcal, which is technically a blanket term for any spirit distilled from agave.

Agave hearts, or piñas used in the production of either tequila or mezcal can be cooked before fermentation, though those used for mezcal are more often roasted in underground pits, imparting the finished product with generally more of a smokier aroma and taste.

Following the fermentation and distillation processes, tequilas and mezcals can be aged to varying degrees before bottling, resulting in multiple distinctions. The distinctions include Blanco (bottled within two months), Reposado (aged between two and 12 months) and Añejo (aged longer than 12 months), with the younger tequilas generally being better for mixing, and the older better for sipping.
All tequila is mezcal, but not all mezcal is tequila.

Incidentally, Mezcal is Spanish and mescal is English spelling.

Sep 13, 2013

Mexican Independence

Most Americans think of Cinco de Mayo as a celebration of Mexican independence, along the same lines as the 4th of July, with many participating in the festivities merely for an excuse to drink margaritas. However, Cinco de Mayo actually commemorates a victory in battle against French occupying forces. In the spring of 1861, A powerful French battalion swept across the countryside until they were stopped in The Battle of Puebla at the forts of Loreto and Guadalupe by a much smaller Mexican group on May 5th. Unfortunately, the following year, the French returned with thirty thousand troops, took over Mexico, and installed Maximilian I as Emperor.

While it is an important celebration in Puebla, in other areas of Mexico it is somewhat less popular. Mexican Independence Day, a completely separate holiday, is celebrated on September 16th.

Tequila is the national drink of Mexico, a potent spirit made from the blue agave. Like champagne, which can only legally be produced in the Champagne region of France, tequila must be derived from agave grown only in very specific parts of Mexico. As the drink’s popularity has continued to rise throughout the world, Mexico has tried to maintain its control, claiming tequila is a “geographically indicated product” under intellectual property rights law. It seems other countries may soon be producing tequila, particularly China, which has areas that mimic Mexico’s very specific climate and soil.

A common misconception about tequila is that the bottle should feature a worm. This actually holds true only for mezcal, a similar drink made from agave. The worm is actually the larva of a moth called the Hypopta agavis that routinely infests agave. While there are some who make the claim that the worm somehow improves the flavor, it is more likely just a marketing ploy.