Tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo, which is one of those weird ‘Merican holidays in our minds. It’s a popular holiday in the states, but in it’s country of origin, Mexico, it’s not that big of a deal. So if we were going to acknowledge it at all, we felt it was important to celebrate one of the more interesting spirits of Mexico. We’re big fans of mezcal here at Booze Nerds HQ, we have quite a number of different bottles of it. That being the case, we thought we would focus on that for this week and introduce more people to this unique spirit.
If you’ve never tasted mezcal, it’s an incredibly complicated spirit, and a bit of an acquired taste. Which is probably why we’re such fans of it. It’s definitely not something for beginners, since the typical taste profile involves petrol and smoke. Mmmmm nothing says tasty like gasoline. 🙂 However, mezcal can be a really enjoyable spirit once you embrace the complexity. Here are three of our favorites.
Mezcalero #3 Pueblo Santa Maria de la Pila (the name always makes us think of this :))
- Nose: Agave, faint brine to start. Sugar cane (sweet but vegetal), mild smoke, mineral like wet concrete. More floral as it opens up, quite sweet like jasmine.
- Palate: Viscous mouth feel, quite hot. Starts off with a gentle vegetal sweetness. Christa gets some slight tropical fruit as well, which Shaun gets on the mid-palate instead. Petrol, smoke, dried leaves on the mid-palate. Very dry mineral-y finish. Mineral notes stand out really strongly and custard notes show up when tasting side by side with the others.
- Nose: Sweet vegetal start, then slightly acidic lemon or grapefruit peel and sawdust (slightly astringent woody smell), followed by brine. More fruit as it opens up.
- Palate: Significantly sweeter throughout than the others. Strong floral jasmine at the front. Petrol and sweet fruit like white grape on the mid-palate, plus a little bit of cucumber. Very quiet finish.
Del Maguey Chichicapa
- Nose: Lot of fruit to start, apple, star fruit & melon. Then moves into savory, almost cured meat notes. Grape-y notes reminiscent of grappa or pisco.
- Palate: Starts with wine and resin flavors. Sugar and subdued apple on the mid-palate along with smoke and petrol. Rather briney finish. Grain notes on the intro when tasted side by side with the others.
Now that we have the tasting out of the way, we wanted to mix up a few things. First we tried something with the Mezcalero:
- 2 oz mezcal
- 1 1/2 oz Perrucchi white vermouth (substitute a sweeter vermouth)
- 1 bar spoon Kina L’ Avion D’ Or
- 1 dash Angostura
Stir all ingredients with ice. Strain into a glass. Garnish with a caper berry.
- Nose: Brine, woody astringency, vinegar, savory pickles, petrol, smoke, spice, honey.
- Palate: Earthy sweet & sour flavor to start. Strong mineral and petrol on the mid-palate along with some smoke. Finish is a little bit of smoke underpinning a strong honey spicy flavor with a little bit of bitterness. Pairs nicely with the pickle notes of the caper berry. Could work very nicely by making it dirty with the caper berry brine.
Halloween Bonfire on the Beach
- 2 oz mezcal (we used the Chichicapa)
- 1 1/2 oz apple brandy (We used the Germain-Robin)
- 1/4 oz Drambuie
- 1 barspoon absinthe (We used the Pacifique)
- 1 sugar cube
Put absinthe on sugar cube. Muddle in bottom of glass. Stir first 3 ingredients with ice. Strain into glass. Add ice cube.
- Nose: Carmel apples, brine, petrol, smoke, fennel, anise, agave.
- Palate: Honey, apple, and fennel to start. Then charcoal overlaid by anise and vegetal agave. Apple, spice, and faint petrol with a touch of earthy peat to finish.
We hope that you take the opportunity during this “holiday” to step out and try a different Mexican spirit than you usually have. We love mezcal and think that it’s a great spirit for drinking straight and for mixing with. Give it a try!