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¿Cómo se hace el mezcal?


Hello mezcalero!

First of all, I thank you for being one of the friends and subscribers of our newsletter.

Let me introduce myself, I'm Claudio Román, CEO of Mezcal MITRE.

One of the newsletters you will receive each month will be written by me. In them, I will try to share the knowledge that I have acquired over the years about one of Mexico's favorite beverages. The first of these deliveries begins today, October 20, on National Mezcal Day, proclaimed in 2017 to promote awareness of this complex distilled spirit.

It might seem simple, but what is mezcal? The Official Mexican Standard 070-SCFI-2016, Alcoholic Beverages-Mezcal-Specifications, describes it as:

"Mexican distilled alcoholic beverage, 100% agave or maguey, obtained by distillation of juices fermented with spontaneous or cultivated microorganisms, extracted from mature heads of cooked magueys or agaves, harvested in the territory covered by the Resolution ..."

In short, it is an agave distilled spirit with Designation of Origin. Mexico has three:

- Bacanora

- Mezcal

- Tequila

Specifically speaking of mezcal, how is it extracted from the agave? After harvest, the first step is cooking. Generally, this process is done underground in conical ovens; it is a very important step, as the main carbohydrate in agave is inulin, which cannot be fermented by yeast, so hydrolysis is necessary to obtain simple sugars (fructose and glucose).

The second step is grinding. Its purpose is to extract the sugars found in the agave fiber. It is usually carried out in the tahona, a roller that can be pulled by horse or motor.

The third step is where the magic happens and alcohol is created. I'm talking about fermentation. There, the must and agave fibers obtained from grinding are placed in wooden vats with water, left to rest for days. During this time, yeast transforms sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide through a biochemical process.

Finally, distillation. The tool used in this phase is the copper still. Here, the elements are separated through different types of boiling, evaporating, and then condensing. Two distillations are done: the first one is called ordinary; it eliminates unwanted components. The resulting liquid undergoes a second round, known as rectification, to separate the heads, body (mezcal), and tails.

What do you think? I hope you have learned something new today. I tried to touch briefly on each of the steps; later on, I will dedicate a newsletter to each stage to explain them more thoroughly. So you can boast about your knowledge—and hopefully share it—about this world-renowned Mexican spirit.

Greetings and let's enjoy this great day with a good mezcal!