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Mezcal Magic: A Tested Tasting Guide To Mexico's Famous Elixir

mezcal tasting

Welcome to the mesmerising world of Mezcal, where every sip tells a story of tradition, craft and smoky intrigue. If you’re new to Mezcal, think of it as tequila's mysterious, smokier cousin, hailing from the heart of Mexico. It’s a spirit that’s gained a cult following, and rightly so. Let’s embark on a beginner's guide to Mezcal tasting, where I’ll walk you through the nuances of this fascinating spirit. 
Mezcal 101: Understanding the Basics
First things first, Mezcal is made from agave, but not just any agave; there are over 30 varieties used in Mezcal production, each imparting its own unique flavour. What sets Mezcal apart is its production process. The heart of the agave plant (or piña) is cooked inside earthen pits lined with lava rocks, giving mezcal its signature smoky flavour.
Starting Your Tasting Journey
When you’re just diving into Mezcal, it’s like exploring a new town—exciting and a bit overwhelming. Start with a joven (young) Mezcal. These are unaged and have a clearer, more vibrant expression of the agave and smoke. Pour yourself a small amount into a proper-tasting glass; a wide-mouthed glass works best to let the aromas dance.
Engage Your Senses
Begin by observing the colour: joven Mezcals are usually clear, while reposados and añejos, which have spent time in barrels, show a range of golden hues. Next, give it a good swirl. Let the mezcal coat the glass, then bring it to your nose. Take a moment to appreciate the aromas. You might get a bouquet of smoke, but look for other notes—citrus, floral, herbal or even something that reminds you of fresh rain on hot pavement.

joven mezcal
The First Sip
Now, take a small sip. Let it roll around your tongue. Mezcal is not a spirit to be rushed. It’s about savouring the layers of flavour. You might first get the smokiness, but wait for the other characters—the sweetness of the agave, a touch of fruitiness, maybe a hint of spice. Each sip should reveal something new.

Understanding the Varieties
As you get more comfortable with Mezcal, experiment with different types. Some popular varieties include Espadín, known for its approachable, balanced profile, and Tobalá, often richer and more complex. Each type of agave offers a different tasting experience.
Pairing Mezcal with Food
Mezcal is fantastic with food. Try it with traditional Mexican dishes—think tacos with grilled meats or a rich mole. The smokiness of mezcal complements the spices beautifully. For a more adventurous pairing, try it with sushi. The clean flavours of the fish against the boldness of Mezcal can be a delightful contrast.
Building Up Your Mezcal Palette
As with any spirit, the more you taste, the more refined your palate becomes. Keep notes on the mezcals you try—what you liked, what you didn't, and the flavours you picked up. It’s a journey, and your taste will evolve over time.

mezcal drinks
In conclusion, mezcal tasting is an adventure, one that takes you deep into the heart of Mexican culture and tradition. It’s a spirit that demands your attention and rewards you with its complexity.

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