Mystical, Magical Mezcal
TEQUILA'S ANCESTRAL SPIRIT Content Courtesy of Ian Chadwick of IanChadwick.com.
Small mezcal distillery in Mitla Mexico
Mezcal (also spelled mescal) is a related distilled spirit, and is the older form of the name for all tequila as well. The name for the product made in Jalisco state - tequila - was adopted in the late 19th century.
Mezcal is actually a generic word that covers a wide range of distilled agave spirits that are made in every Mexican state except Veracruz, Quintana Roo, Campeche and Baja California. It is not a singular product, but should be considered in the plural - mezcals (Sp. mezcales).
Technically, all tequilas are mezcals, which were also known as mezcal wines and mezcal brandies before the name tequila became common and replaced mezcal for that one particular type of mezcal. Today they are distinct products, differentiated by production process, place of origin and taste, much the same way rye whiskey and Scotch whisky differ.
Most mezcal is made in Oaxaca state today, although some (mostly regional and not for export) is also made in Guerrero, Zacatecas, and other states.
Mezcal has its own magic and mystery. It retains its traditions as a 'people's drink' - made in tiny operations that have hardly changed over the intervening centuries. Slow to modernize, family run, tiny output, mezcal is still at the heart and soul of ancient Mexico and her traditions.
No other spirit in the world comes from such a wide natural and cultural array as do mezcals.
Mezcal distillery in Oaxaca Mexico