Mezcal is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from the agave plant that has been enjoyed in Mexico for centuries. It has become increasingly popular in recent years, as more people discover its unique smoky flavor and versatility in cocktails. Whether you are a seasoned mezcal enthusiast or a beginner, here are some tips and tricks on how to drink mezcal like a pro.
Understanding the Different Types of Mezcal
Before you start drinking mezcal, it’s important to understand the different types that are available:
- Joven: Also known as blanco or silver, this type of mezcal is clear and unaged, with a potent flavor and aroma.
- Reposado: Aged in barrels for between two and eleven months, reposado mezcal has a mellower flavor and a light golden color.
- Añejo: Aged for a minimum of one year, añejo mezcal has a smooth, complex flavor and a dark amber color.
Each type of mezcal has its own unique flavor profile, so it’s worth experimenting with different varieties to find your favorite.
Choosing the Right Glassware
The type of glass you use can also have an impact on your mezcal-drinking experience. Ideally, you should use a narrow, tall glass with a heavy base, like a copita or a reidel glass. These glasses allow you to appreciate the aroma and flavor of the mezcal, while the heavy base helps to prevent spills.
Mezcal is best served at room temperature, or slightly chilled. If you are drinking a good quality mezcal, it should be served neat or with a small amount of water. For lower quality mezcals, you may prefer to mix them with other ingredients to mask their harsh taste.
Pairing Mezcal with Food
Mezcal is a versatile drink that can be paired with a wide range of foods. Whether you are enjoying a spicy dish, a sweet dessert or a savory snack, there is a mezcal that will complement it perfectly. Some recommended pairings include:
- Cheese and charcuterie
- Grilled meats
- Spicy Mexican dishes
- Dark chocolate
Experiment with different pairings to find your perfect match.
How to Taste Mezcal
Tasting mezcal is similar to tasting wine. Start by inspecting the color and clarity of the mezcal, then swirl it around in the glass to release the aroma. Take a small sip and let it roll around on your tongue, noting the flavor and mouthfeel. After swallowing, note any lingering flavors or aftertastes.
Mezcal Tasting Techniques
There are a few different tasting techniques that you can use to fully appreciate the flavors of mezcal:
- The sniff and sip method: This involves taking a small sniff of the mezcal, then taking a sip and holding it in your mouth for a few seconds before swallowing.
- The slurp and spit method: Similar to wine tasting, this involves slurping a small amount of mezcal into your mouth and then spitting it out to avoid getting drunk.
- The mezcal martini method: This involves mixing mezcal with dry vermouth and serving it with a lime twist.
Mezcal can be used as a base for a wide range of cocktails, from fruity margaritas to smoky old fashioneds. Some popular mezcal cocktails include:
- Mezcal margarita
- Mezcal negroni
- Mezcal paloma
- Mezcal old fashioned
- Mezcal sour
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different mixers and garnishes to create your own unique mezcal cocktail.
Mezcal Brands to Try
Here are some popular mezcal brands to try:
|Del Maguey||Single village||Smooth, complex flavors|
|Illegal Mezcal||Joven||Peppery, smoky taste|
|Ilegal Mezcal||Añejo||Vanilla and chocolate notes|
|Montelobos||Joven||Herbaceous, smoky flavor|
|El Jolgorio||Single village||Floral, fruity aroma|
Mezcal is a complex and flavorful beverage that can be enjoyed in many different ways. Whether you prefer it neat or mixed in a cocktail, there is a mezcal that will suit your tastes. Experiment with different brands, types, and serving methods to find your perfect mezcal experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you drink mezcal the right way?
Mezcal is best enjoyed neat or with a small amount of water. Serve it at room temperature in a narrow, tall glass to fully appreciate its aroma and flavor.
What food pairs well with mezcal?
Mezcal pairs well with a wide range of foods, including cheese and charcuterie, grilled meats, spicy Mexican dishes, and dark chocolate.
What are the different types of mezcal?
The three main types of mezcal are joven, reposado, and añejo. Joven mezcal is unaged and high in alcohol, while reposado and añejo mezcals are aged in barrels for varying periods of time.
Can mezcal be mixed in cocktails?
Yes, mezcal can be used as a base for a wide range of cocktails, including margaritas, negronis, and old fashioneds.
What are some popular mezcal brands?
Popular mezcal brands include Del Maguey, Illegal Mezcal, Montelobos, and El Jolgorio.