Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tools of Mezcal

During our trip to Oaxaca over Spring Break we visited a small scale, family operated, artisan-style mezcal factory. Mezcal is a sister drink to tequila, in that it is made from a species of agave. Like tequila, it can get away from you easily.

The factory trip was partly about learning a little about mezcal production and seeing some of the process in operation, and partly about sampling a very wide range of straight mezcals and fruity and other flavoured (coffee, pina colada, you name it) versions and, after sampling plenty, buying some to take away.

Needless to say, I was especially interested in the process and the tools ...

First up, they seem to cut all the leaves off the agave plant and get it back to the core at the base, so that it looks like a big pineapple, and then they put it in a pit with very hot rocks -- heated by fire. It cooks for a few days.

After the cooked agave is removed and cooled it has to be cut up and squashed, so that the juice can be extracted and distilled. This is where Dobbin and a big stone crushing wheel comes into play.

The stringy residue from the crushing process is loaded into big barrels.

Then the liquid is distilled.

It is then taken away for bottling and storing, but we didn't see any of that -- only the unbottling. And at that point there was no time for photos.


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