If you are wanting to taste mezcal and enjoy it, then it is important to know the proper ways to taste it.
Drinking and enjoying mezcal is the progression from sipping on tequila. It is an upgrade in terms of bolder taste, wilder experience and unpredictability of what it will be like.
All mezcals are not created equal, giving you a ride of a time in the drinking experience and a wide variety of choices. But selecting the right mezcal to taste and doing so properly can be intimidating at first.
To enhance your mezcal tasting experience we have put together a range of tips from the experts so that you can enjoy every sip of mezcal.
Keep it Simple
Don’t waste all your money on the most expensive bottle of mezcal upfront. This is because it will end up being wasted as you won’t fully understand or appreciate what you are drinking. Instead, start off simple and cheaper with an intro version of mezcal that showcases a range of flavors that covers off everything from earthy to fruity notes. For a true beginner experience, mix it into a cocktail like the Mezcal Old Fashioned to slowly start getting your taste buds warmed up.
Smoke is Not Necessary
Most people have the preconceived notion that mezcal is always associated with smoke. This is likely because mezcal is made by taking agave and actually roasting it in a fire. But the level of smokiness is not always the same. Sometimes it is a very mild and faint smokiness and other times it is an intense characteristic. Each mezcal differs but the smoke will not make it or break it.
Take Your Time and Sip
Mezcal is meant to be enjoyed, not rushed. You do not need to shoot it back like you would tequila. Instead, slowly sip the mezcal and really let each taste bud absorb it, let your senses smell it and be fully in the moment. To encourage you to sip, many people will pour their mezcal into a tiny cup that is made of clay and often referred to as a jicaa.
Salt is a Must
The mezcal comes from the plant known as agave. And on that plant is a type of work that comes out of the plant. Now, don’t worry as the worm is not actually going to be in the mezcal. But they do use the worm and add it to the salt. This salt is then rimmed around a slice of orange, which you should bite into after each sip of mezcal. Consider it the truly sophisticated upgrade from the tequila, lime and salt process. The reason that the salt and orange are incorporated into the tasting process is that the combination will actually keep your palate clean and your taste buds on point for the next sip.
Keep it at Room Temperature
The mezcal should always be enjoyed at room temperature. Too often people make the mistake of trying to chill it, but that just ends up numbing all the flavors. This is because mezcal has congeners that need to be active to deliver the flavor and if they got too cold, the magic of the mezcal goes away. The golden exception to mixing mezcal with ice is when it is being used in a cocktail.
Mezcal Can Mix with More than Tequila
You don’t have to just use mezcal for the Mexican themed cocktails like margaritas. In fact, mezcal works like a charm when wanting to substitute either gin or scotch. This means that mezcal can aid you in also creating an out of this world Negroni, evoking a savory and herby compilation that perfectly substitutes the piney flavors of most gins. So if you do want to play around with widening the tasting experience of your mezcal, mix it up in an array of cocktails.
No Two Mezcals Taste the Same
It is important to remember that each mezcal tasting will be different. That is because no two mezcals will ever be exactly the same. So it is important to go into the tasting without any expectation or preconceived notion on what the experience will be like. Not knowing and being surprised is what makes mezcal tasting so fun.
Drinking mezcal is certainly an experience to not be missed. With these tips, you will be able to savor the moment, treat your senses and find yourself pleasantly surprised with each sip and pour.