What Mezcal was served in for the tasting

Last month, I was invited by Vicente Sanchez the consular of Mexico for Michigan and Ohio to a Mezcal tasting event for a celebration of the 2010 Mexican bicentennial anniversary.

The tasting was a truly unique and fun experience. I learned so much from the host at Migual’s Cantina. If you are wondering what the difference is between Mezcal and Tequila there are many including how many times it is distilled and even the use of the worm is in debate.

Fried Grasshoppers, salted and served with nuts

What I found interesting is the how you taste, with what you taste and how the traditional drink got its start. Here are a few of my non-scientific findings:

  • Mezcal got its start with the Spanish Conquest and was used to convince the native Indians to work in the mines.
  • There are over 200 different kinds of Agave plants and at least 150 are grown in Mexico
  • When drinking Mezcal you should make a kissing face with your lips and sip.
  • Before drinking Mezcal, you should produce a bit of saliva and when the sip is taken you should move the liquid across all your taste buds.
  • Mezcal has a strong smokey flavor and can make you cough the first time you drink it.
  • Mezcal is usually served as a shot, with a side plate of fried larvae ground with chili peppers and salt and cut limes. (notice picture of the grasshoppers – yes I tried them and am not a fan but I tried it! )
  • Supposedly Mezcal is one of the only alcohols that will not give you a hang over. It comes from a polycarpic plant which starts to digest as soon as it hits your tongue.
  • Just like with other drinks here are high end and low end Mezcals.  But note many are handcrafted.

This was a fantastic opportunity to learn about the very rich and old culture of Mexico.  I am so glad I was able to attend this unique experience and taste at bit of Mexico.

Do you have a drink or food that is a tradition for you and your culture?  Please share with us!

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