Demystifying mezcal and discovering why this artisan liquor deserves another sip

(Photo by Alfredo Martinez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alfredo Martinez/Getty Images) /

While tequila has had its moment and bourbon has its legions of fans, mezcal can lead some drinkers with lingering questions. Although the bottles entice on the shelf and mixologists have started to highlight the liquor in enticing cocktails, questions linger about this spirit. Is it time to demystify this artisan spirit?

Producing a memorable spirit is not a simple task. As anyone who has sipped a lower end liquor versus a highly touted bottle understands attention to craft impacts the flavor. Mezcal is one of those liquors where attention to craft is imperative.

While there are many bottles on the shelf, the reality is that mezcal is a labor-intensive liquor. Some brands show the ancient methods used to create that special bottle. For foodies who appreciate that farm to table concept, mezcal could be the farm to bottle option that deserves a moment to savor.

How are some misconceptions about mezcal?

Although some people might just label mezcal as a relative to tequila, the liquor is more than that over-simplification. At the same time, this beverage is more than just a smoky tequila. While there are elements of woodiness to the flavor, it is not a cup full of smokiness. Still that hint of woody quality adds to the enjoyment of the sip.

Since mezcal is an artisan spirit, the various bottles can be very different. While the beverage is made with agave, it is nuanced depending on the method. Although there are few rules attached to drinking mezal, there is a communal appreciation for the drink. From a joven to some anejo offerings, it can be a lovely experience savoring all the options on the shelf.

Have you tried these mezcal offerings?

Beyond some well-known brands that offer mezcals, there are some other options that deserve to be enjoyed. For example, Illegal Mezcal focuses on the concept of harvest to first sip. Slightly smoky yet agave forward, the spirit has a love herbaceous quality. From minerality to fruit notes, Illegal is delightful on its own as well as mixed in a cocktail.

Another delightful choice is Lejana y Sol. Although no electricity is used in the production of this spirit, the flavor is quite elevated. From the slightly spicy notes to a touch of earthy quality, this liquor captures the duality that its name applies. From afar to alone, that juxtaposition is a statement to ponder sip after sip.

With Gente de Mezcal, the award-winning liquor, focuses on the community behind the beverage. It is a collective ancestral knowledge that makes this offering so special. With a smooth caramelized flavor mixed into bold spices, this liquor is deserving of all the accolades. One sip and it will make drinkers want to be one with the people who made it.

While tequila always deserves a spot on the shelf, the reality is that mezcal is a story with multiple layers to be discovered. And like a great story that lingers in the mind, this beverage will have drinkers coming back for more.

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