Mescal: what it is, features, composition and reviews
It is believed that the classic traditional drink of Mexico is tequila. But few people know that she has a “big brother” - mescal. What it is? In this article we will tell you in detail about this drink, the sharpness of the Indians and the ingenuity of the Spanish conquistadors have worked to create a formula for which. And how to drink mezcal with salt and lime, like tequila, or something else? We will devote proper attention to the serving of Mexican liqueur. What does a worm in some bottles of mescal do? It excites many consumers. Is it safe to drink with a caterpillar? And is it necessary to eat this worm to make the meal more authentic? How much is mescal in Russian stores and what brand to prefer? All this you will learn from our article. We will also provide feedback on this drink.
Mescal - what is it?
The history of the drink is very interesting. Grapes and wheat to make vodka, the Indians before the arrival of the Spaniards did not know.Distillation method too. The raw material that the Indians used to make alcohol was agave. They squeezed the juice from the fruit of the plant and left it to ferment. It turned out a muddy white drink with a strength of 5-6 degrees - bullet. Conquistadors who arrived in America did not like his gastronomic qualities. They began to experiment with Pulko in every possible way in order to get something stronger, cleaner and more refined from agave. Soon their efforts were crowned with success. So from the "common ancestor" of pulko were born mescal and tequila. Rather, first mescal. But he was, as they say, a man's drink - a strong, characteristic, zaboristym. For the ladies, the Spaniards began to apply the secondary distillation of the fermented juice of agave, and not just any, but a special type of plant that is distinguished by its delicate taste. Thus was born the "club" tequila.
How to make mescal
How did the Spaniards “ennoble” traditional Mexican pulque? The technology of preparation of the drink has changed. Fruits are cut from agaves that have reached the age of 8-10 years before they begin to bloom. They contain the maximum amount of starch, which is necessary for the fermentation process.From the middle of the fruit cut - pinu. But even these "bumps" reach weight from 20 to 80 kilograms. They are placed in special furnaces that have the shape of a funnel or cone. And there the pins warm up on low heat for three days. Next, the baked fruits are crushed and boiled in a large vat. It turns out sticky homogeneous mass, which is left to ferment. Next, the liquid is distilled. Until 1960, the drink passed a single distillation. And by this he gave way to tequila, which went through the process of distillation twice. But now both types of drinks undergo double distillation, so they are similar in the fortress - 55%. The etymology of the word "mescal" should be mentioned. What it is? The word Mezcal in Nahuatl means "cooked agave."
History of mescal
Previously, each village had its own recipe for making a drink. People used local types of agaves, made cones for roasting pins in a special way. The Spaniards brought the Copper Stil distillery to Mesoamerica, which they, in turn, took over from the Arabs. Thus, each region of Mexico had its own mezcal. The drink was banned by the Spanish crown, who wanted to keep imports of wines in the New World.The authorities claimed that mescal has a detrimental effect on public health. But the drink survived all the restrictions. Then the authorities decided to limit its release and somehow unify its taste. Now only agave alcohol made in one of nine states in Mexico can be called mescal: Oasasa, Durango, Guanajuato, Guerrero, San Luis Potosi, Tamaulipas, Zacatecas, Mihoacan and Puebla. In the city of Tequila, they made a particularly palatable drink. He received the name Mezcal Tequila. Later, the first word disappeared, and the drink was simply called by the city of origin - tequila. But the technology of its production has also changed.
What is different from tequila mezcal
These two drinks are brothers, but not twins. They share a common ancestor - bullet. But then both drinks went their own ways in life. Mescal is prepared from different types of agaves, both domesticated and wild. A raw material for tequila is pina from azul agave. Mescal on an industrial scale is produced in nine states of Mexico, and a drink made in an artisanal way can be found in every corner of the country. Tequila is made only in the state of Jalisco, and the best drink is the one that saw the light not far from the city of the same name. The production of mescal allows the addition of sugar to the mash.Tequila sweeten is not accepted. Mezcal has a rather pronounced taste and aroma. Tequila is considered a "club drink" that you need to savor. Some manufacturers add all sorts of things to mescal bottles: caterpillars, pears, other fruits. Tequila produced without any additions.
Types of mescal
Now let's look at the brands of this drink. More than half a thousand years have passed since the world has learned what it is such a mezcal. And the first beverage factory was opened by Don Pedro Sánchez de Tagli in 1600. Much acreage in Mexico has since been set aside for the cultivation of agaves. Although the best mezcal is the one that is produced from a wild plant. After 1960, this drink, like tequila, began to be distilled twice. But the types of mescal, like cognacs, differ by aging. On the labels of the bottles you will not see stars indicating the years spent drinking in oak barrels. Mescal Blanco or Natural means that the product is young, without endurance. This kind of drink is the cheapest. If the label contains the word “Reposado”, it means that the mescal was kept from six months to a year. And if the drink spent in barrels more time, it is labeled as "Anejo."
Where did the worm come from?
The myth is widespread that the caterpillar of a butterfly is guzano, parasitic on agave leaves, gives meskal a special taste. This is not true, but only a good marketing ploy. For the first time a mescal with a caterpillar appeared in 1940. The manufacturer Del Magwe just wanted to draw attention to its products, demonstrating the good spirit qualities of the drink (the body of the worm did not decompose). This marketing ploy was adopted by some other firms. Mexicans nicknamed the worm "Juanito" and began to attribute to him the healing properties, including the effect of "Viagra". Particularly appreciated is the red caterpillar that lives in the core of the plant. White worms crawl through the leaves, it is easier to catch them. But under the influence of alcohols, both carcasses become equally discolored. Now the caterpillars are specially bred on young agave plants that are not treated with pesticides. Then the insects are kept in pure alcohol for a year to exterminate all the bacteria. And only then put Juanito in a bottle with mescal. No taste "gusano" (caterpillar) does not give the drink.
How to use mescal
There are three ways. They depend not only on your preference, but also on the type of mescal.Some manufacturers make the drink sweet, and also add fillers, such as honey or fruit. In Russia, mescal with a pear is popular, which the manufacturer somehow manages to put in a bottle entirely. Such drinks are served at room temperature and poured into small glasses. They are savored as liqueurs, at the end of the meal, sipping in small sips. The second way is like using tequila. He is known to all: "Lizni, drink, bite!". This means that salt should be poured on the back of the left palm, between the thumb and forefinger. In the right hand you need to take a stack of tequila. In the left - with two fingers a piece of lime. First you need to lick the salt, drink tequila and eat citrus. The same can be done with mescal. Some manufacturers took care of customers and produce bottles, to the necks of which a bag of reddish powder is attached. These are salt, pepper-chili and crushed Juanito caterpillars. If you do not have a disgust for worms, the carcass can be pulled out and divided into pieces. The third way to eat mescal is with spicy Sangrita sauce.It can be prepared at home by adding lime, onions and a variety of spices to natural tomato juice. Immediately behind a stack of mezcal send 50 ml of sangrites into your mouth.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of brands of this drink. Therefore, the range of prices in Mexico is huge. Unlike cognacs, the extract is not fundamental to either the quality or the cost of mescal. The price often depends on the authority of the manufacturer. The most popular brands are “Kusano Rojo”, “Monte Alban”, “Miguel de la Mescal”, “Divino Reposado” and “Lahita”. In Russian wine boutiques, a drink costs between 1,500 and 3,500 rubles per bottle.
Reviews on taste
Consumers and distiller lovers are still arguing among themselves about which Mexican alcohol is better - tequila or mezcal. Reviews make it clear that the first drink has a pronounced taste and aroma. Not just salt comes to mescal, but a mixture of it with chili pepper. And you can not eat a lime, and the usual lemon. This is the case with mescal without fillers.