Mezcal is a traditional Mexican spirit, made 100% of agave plant. It usually has high degrees of alcohol up to 55°.
The popularity of mezcalerías is increasing in Mexico and worldwide. There are even bars in Europe with such a name but, what is a mezcalería?
The suffix ‘ria’ in Spanish indicates a place where something is made or processed. For example, shoes are zapato and a place where shoes are fixed is a zapatería.
In the field of mezcal, a mezcalería is a place specialized in offering various kinds of mezcales, where you can find one of each type.
As you may have guessed, mezcalería is a given name to a mezcal conceptualized bar. They usually have Mexican styled architecture known as colonial which is the architecture trend used during when New Spain (Mexico nowadays) was controlled by Spain.
Another element is the music they play, which is usually cumbia, tropical vibes or latin american rhythms. Paralellely, they tend to organize events with genders drastically different such as house or techno. In the end, Mexican culture is versatile, open to changes!
This cocktail has a seasonal purpose, it was created during the “Día de Muertos” (Day of the Death).
It is common to believe that mezcal and tequila are the same. Although they come from the same plant, they are made of rather different processes and contexts. In a few words below I highlight the main differences.
First of all, mezcal is always a 100% made of agave, while tequila could be made with just 50%, in this case is popular to have the other half made of sugar cane (that is much cheaper than agave and makes you proner to be hungover the day after).
Secondly, tequila is always made of agave azul, while mezcal can be made up to 20 different species of agaves such as espadín, tobalá, tepeztate, madre cuishe, etc.
Thirdly, the geographical denomination between tequila and mezcal is different. Mezcal can be produced in the states of Oaxaca, Durango, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Michoacán, San Luis Potosí, Puebla Tamaulipas and Zacatecas.
Some mezcal brands decide to add mezcal worms into the bottle. These worms grow in the agave plant and are also used for traditional cuisine. Arguably, the reason why some producers decide to add such insects in the beverage is that it provides it with a more sophisticated flavour…
There are two undebatable reasons why mezcals have worms in their bottles
Something to highlight is that mezcal orthodoxes claim that adding a worm into the mezcal bottle is just a way of hiding the impurities of bad-made mezcal and they might be right, otherwise, why would you add an insect into such a complex beverage?
I believe the best way to explain how to recognize a good mezcal is by providing an example. In this case, I would like to describe the characteristics of Bruhada Mezcal.
How is Bruhada mezcal made?
Independently of personal preferences, an indicator of the pureness of mezcal is the alcohol percentage. The higher, the more mezcal in the liquid and the more expensive it is.
From a personal point of view, a low degree of mezcal (35% – 42%) does not taste good if drank alone, as the agave flavour is diluted and you perceive a stronger ethilic taste. Low alcohol percentage mezcals are not bad, their suggested use is for cocktail making.
On the contrary, if you want to try the full flavour of an agave within a mezcal, try with a high alcohol percentage, up to 50%. Just be careful, as it might not taste as strong but it will completely get you drunk.
If what you want is a mezcal that you can drink alone and in cocktails, you could be looking at a middle point alcohol percentage mezcal, which could be 45%.
Aging of the agave
The optimate aging of the agave is between 7 and 10 years. It is important to stress because if the agave is not mature enough, the beverage will not have enough sugars for the transformation into alcohol when distilling it.
Region of the agave
It is important to know the region where agave is produced because you can get to know the climate conditions where it is aged.
For example, in the case of San Juan del Río, where Bruhada’s mezcal agaves are grown, it is warm and dry during most of the year. The rain season is short but rather prominent, being the only watering the agaves receive during the year. After this short rain season, the agaves gather the necessary water from the morning’s dew. Because it is a hilly region, the agaves get just the necessary water without stocking it.
The soil is another element to bear in mind. San Juan del Río’s soil is known by locals as tierra bomba (bomb soil), because it is rocky and porous. This means that the soil absorbs the water giving as a result agaves of bright green colour.
From information on the region, you can also get to know whether the agaves were grown naturally, without the use of chemicals for their growth or to protect them from pests.
If you are a casual drinker, then you can always visit your local liquor store. Additionally, there are several websites of retailers all across Europe which decide to sell mezcal online. The last option, and the most recommended, is to go to a mezcalería. There, you can always ask for the mezcal that best fits your taste.
For those who want to distribute all across Europe, the best option is to import it. Bruhada mezcal and exoap signed a contract in October 2021, making exoap the official representative of Bruhada. We will be happy to share with you the mezcal’s competitive costs, as well to help you sort the import process!