Mezcal is a genuinely Mexican alcoholic beverage (see also tequila selections here). One hundred percent handmade with prehispanic methods dating from over 3,500 years ago. The center of its production is the state of Oaxaca, Mexico, birthplace of this elixir regarded as “the elixir of the gods.”
Obtained from distilled and rectified musts Mezcal is prepared with sugars extracted from the mature cones of different varieties of agave, previously hydrolyzed or cooked and subjected to alcoholic fermentation with yeast. The result is a liquid of characteristic taste and aroma, colorless or pale yellow if fruit is added during the distillation process or at the end of it.
These are three of the best Mexican Mezcals you can find in the international market.
Los Danzantes Reposado
In the town of Santiago Matatlan, Oaxaca, Los Danzantes distillery produces a complete range of prestigious mezcals, most notably The Dancers Reposado, an artisanal brew that is highly appreciated by fans of this tasty spirit. Its preparation requires a variety of agave called “espadín,” which is baked in an underground stone oven filled with mesquite wood. The double distillation is done in copper stills, and afterward it is left to rest in French white oak barrels. Los Danzantes Reposado mezcal is distinguished by its yellow color and sweet hints of cooked fruits with a balanced presence of spices.
The master mezcalero Eric Hernández of the Sacrificio distillery in Tlacolula, Oaxaca uses only the best agaves— the largest and most mature of the espadín variety— to bake them with mesquite and pith pinewood. Sacrificio is first distilled in steel in order to concentrate the mezcal, and a second distillation in copper takes place to refine and polish it. Afterward, it is left to rest for three months in French white oak barrels— the oak is unroasted, so the only roasted flavor in the mezcal comes from the espadín pines. This spirit features the distinctive and delicious, fresh and fruity taste of the clean agave, with a long and elegant persistence on the palate and that spicy touch that always characterizes a good mezcal.
Mezcal Wahaka Joven
Tobalá is a wild agave grown in the highlands of Oaxaca and one of the richest in flavors and aromas. To find it and produce it is a challenge. The Wahaka mezcal is produced in San Dionisio Ocotepec, a town founded in 1610, which is the epicenter of the mezcal region. Here, the Morales family has perfected the art of making mezcal for generations. Their Wahaka Joven is rich in aromas and flavors, as the Tobalá agave gives mezcal a thickness and opacity that differs from other varieties. The aroma is unmistakable, and the flavor is explosive. Both are accented with floral and herbaceous flavors, a common feature among the agaves that grow in humid zones. Because of its rarity, epicures jealously guard a bottle of Tobalá to share on special occasions. ■