Making Mezcal 101 – Oaxaca Mexico

If you know anything about Oaxaca, Mexico you know this is Mezcal country! We’ve spent the last 5 days at Casa Raab located in the hills above the city. This beautiful estate is owned by Tony and Rebecca, a couple of amazing expats. This estate has been in Tony’s family since the 1960s. Aside from running a beautiful bed and breakfast, Tony also makes Mezcal on the property and gives tours around the area. He is incredibly knowledgeable about the beverage.

Mezcal is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from the maguey plant (a form of agave) native to Mexico. This beverage is generally drunk straight and has a strong smoky flavor. Tequila is actually a type of Mezcal made specifically from the blue agave in select regions of Mexico. But due to the strict regulations and laws, Tequila lacks the complexity and personality of other Mezcal. It’s also not as strong. A good Tequila is generally 40% alcohol while a good Mezcal is 50-54%. We were warned early on to pace ourselves, but we didn’t.

Tony gave us a full 101 lesson in the process of making Mezcal. It’s similar to how they make Tequila, but with lots more variables. We sampled different types from all over the region. In the end we determined that we like Mezcal more than Tequila due to its complexity, variety of flavors, and the fact that people basically make it in their back yards using old school techniques. This adds personality!

Example, Tony poured me a very special glass from an unmarked jug stashed in the tool shed. He told me to admire the pinkish color which was unique to this particular Mezcal. I did, and then I drank it. He asked me if I could pull out the flavors of the pink color. I could. Then I asked him what it was and he said “it’s rust from the still, don’t worry, a little iron is good for you.” I actually googled that and don’t think it’s completely harmless to drink rust, but that’s Mezcal in a nutshell. If you want to drink cream liqueurs and fruity umbrella drinks go check into the Cancun Palace. But if you don’t mind shaving a few months off your life by sampling real Mexican moonshine, check into Casa Raab!

Helping Tony load the still with a fresh batch of pulp from the barrels. The first run through the stiller makes shishi. The next run after that and we have Mezcal! Check out the featured video on the website. And there is another video on the video page… Click Here

Oaxaca, the world capital of Mezcal…

Although it sucks to get stuck behind one of these trucks going 8.5 mph, its pretty cool to see all the Agave plants on their way to be cooked into Mezcal…

This is what a Mezcal operation looks like. Very old school, very cool!

Here was our room at Casa Raab. Absolutely beautiful and a great place to hang and regroup before heading down the road…

We’re heading south again. Working our way along the Guatemala border on our way to see the mayan ruins at Tikal. TREE

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  1. The education continues! You two are learning all the important things . . .

  2. So I can start calling you rust bucket!

  3. Do you eat the worm?

  4. Real Mezcal doesn't have a worm. It's a scorpion.

  5. Real Mezcal can have the worm but not the scorpion,the scorpion was added just to atract attention,simple is that.

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