What do you love most about mezcal?
The complexity of the spirit. Not just on the nose and palate. But the history, the production, the stories, the people, the origins. It is all so complex. As someone who loves learning, that is one of my favorite parts—the more you know about Mezcal, the more you realize you know nothing.
We still hear people ask things like, “What do you like better, whiskey or bourbon?” Are we making the same mistake when we do that with mezcal and tequila?
Yes and no. As the saying goes, “Every tequila is a mezcal, but not all mezcal is a tequila.” Put simply, tequila is a style of mezcal. Before tequila was called that it was called Vino Mezcal de Tequila— basically a mezcal from the region of Tequila. Today it is a little more complicated than that, both tequila and mezcal have their own Dominations of Origin, meaning very specific places in Mexico can register theirs spirits as tequila or mezcal. So, they are the same, but also very different. If you ask me, if it’s made from the agave plant and made in Mexico, it doesn’t matter if it is raicilla, tequila, bacanora or tuxca—in the end they are all mezcal.
How do you recommend people enter into the world of mezcal?
The first thing to note is that good mezcal is not “cheap.” I put that in quotation marks because it may seem expensive, but once you see how some of these spirits are made and how it can take up to 30 years from planting an agave to drinking the mezcal from it, it is pretty inexpensive. What other unaged spirit or wine can say that?