Tequila has been on the upswing, but its cousin from Oaxaca is making inroads too. Mezcal has looser rules than Tequila, in that it can use any one of wide varieties of agave. Tequila is limited to 100% Blue Weber Agave plant, and must come from certain areas in Tequila. Mezcal is can use wide varieties on Maguey (another agave) and can come from many more states. Ya dig? Ok maybe not so here is an explanation from a website:
There are five varieties of Maguey that are always permitted in the DO of Mezcal. These five are: 1) Espadín, 2) Cenizio, 3) Mezcal, 4) Tobalá 5) Mezcalero.
The DO has a rule that says other varieties of Maguey can be used as long as it is not the primary ingredient for other DO’s in the same state. This CONFUSING rule allows for many varieties of Maguey to be used in the different Mezcal producing states.
Ok. I am still confused. The important thing to remember is that just like Tequila, it should say 100% Agave on the label or you are getting a mixto. Blah! Please only put good clean things in your body. And there is no need for worms or Scorpions, but they are quite tasty when soaked in mezcal, so chew away!
Not all Mezcal is smoked either. I am a fan of Fidencio, made from Agave Espadín, that is non-smoked and a nice introductory mezcal for tequila drinkers looking to expand their palate.
Another lovely mezcal is Illegal Mezcal. Its not really illegal, it just got its name from when the ex-pats living in Guatemala used to smuggle the good stuff across the border in gas cans stored under trucks. Its pricey but real good and has a lovely package.
Another reason why it might be so popular is that here in NYC there is a boy who always walks around with a bottle of the stuff in his bag. My friends over at Inside F & B have been known to stalk this man at parties demanding the golden smoky goodness. Ok, you got me...by "Friends" I mean "Me".
Give me Mezcal!!!!
"An 'ilegal' substance comes to New York"