Although some similarities exist between mezcal and tequila, mezcal differs drastically in tastes and production. While true tequila may only be made from the weber blue agave(also commonly referred to as Maguey in the Mezcal world), mezcal may be made from several different agave varieties. Once the maguey has been harvested and the heart or "pina" is left, it is cut into smaller proportions and pit roasted over a pill of scorching hot stones before being buried with agave leaves and soil. The cooking of the maguey takes between 3 to 5 days to successfully convert the once present carbohydrates into fermentable sugars. Like tradition methods of making tequila the maguey is then placed in the mill ring to be mashed by a giant stone wheel pulled only by a horse. The mashed maguey is then left to ferment naturally by air born microorganisms in rustic wooden fermentation vats. Because of the absence of added yeast, fermentation time may take up to 7 days to achieve completion. The distillation process is also far from state of the art. Asides from the modern cooper pot still, clay is a widely used material in the distillation process. After being twice distilled the mezcal is then married without the addition of any water with previous distillations to achieve a desired flavor profile unique to the particular brand or village producing this elixir of gods.
At Clive's Classic lounges an array of Del Maguey Mezcal was featured in flights, cocktails and paired with sublime Mexican cuisine.
|Mezcal Monday's Menu. *Property of "Clive's Classic Lounge"*|
|Traditional clay Jarritos used for drinking mezcal.|
|The marvelous selection of Del Maguey mezcal at Clive's Classic Lounge|
While the Pechuga was the most memorable mezcal of the night due to it's peculiar nature. It was the Tobala that for me stood above all other mezcals in terms of balance and quality. I would consider the quality of the mezcal offered by Del Maguey to rival any single malt scotch or Cognac I have ever tasted. If I am fortunate enough to come across one I will not hesitate to buy a bottle, especially if it happens to be the Tobala, San Luis Del Rio or Chichichapa of which where my favorites of the night.
A big thanks to Del Maguey Mezcal and all the hard working individuals that put there sweat and blood into this product. As well, thanks to the hardest working bartender in the industry, Shawn Soole of Clive's Classic lounge for taking the time to organize the event and for providing the opportunity to taste such amazing mezcal.