Posted by: ramblinmanjimj | November 17, 2008

The Mezcal Capital of the World

The sword-like leaves of the Agave plant grow in excess of six feet.

From my book…’Bud and I took the Bronco about 12 miles to the village of Santiago Matatlan, which proudly proclaims itself as “The Mezcal Capital of the World!” My guidebook says about Mezcal, “Produced throughout the dry central valleys of Oaxaca, mezcal has become one of the best-known symbols of the state. This liquor is prepared from the heart of the agave mature plants of about 12 years old. Stripped of their sword-like leaves by machete, the hearts are baked in ovens – a large pit filled with red hot coals covered by stones, the agave, and finally a layer of earth for three days. The baked agave hearts are traditionally ground by stone wheels pulled by teams of oxen and the mash fermented for ten days in wooden vats. It is then double-distilled with various essences (sweetened fruits).” We witnessed the entire process, including the grinding wheel pulled by a horse. We tasted it, as it came directly out of the still. At 43% alcohol, it’s strong enough to curl your hair! We bought some mezcal flavored with mint. It was a neat place to visit. Happy hour at a local bar. The afternoon high temperature was 85 degrees.’

All material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2008
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