Mezcal is so much more than just tequila’s smoky cousin!
Having been a smoky whiskey type of gal for years, I was persuaded by a handsome West Texas bartender to try mezcal for it's similar smoky qualities. Like most, I cringed at the thought of a bottle that housed a worm at the bottom that supposedly had hallucinogenic powers. As it turns out, not all mezcals contain this creepy crawler… I had so much to learn.
Tequila is a type of mezcal, but not all mezcals are tequila.
Mezcal can be made from more than 30 types of agave, unlike tequila which can only be made from blue agave. Most of mezcal's production is based out of Oaxaca, a state in southern Mexico known for its indigenous cultures. The smoky taste comes from its underground cooking process, where the “piña” of the plant is buried in a pit filled with fire and river rocks. This roasting process caramelizes the agave plants, or magueys (mah-gays) as we refer to them in Mexico, giving the charred or smoky flavor to this spirit. Unlike vodka or whiskey, mezcal cannot be flavored, but there are some mezcals that are more flowery, fruity, or earthy by nature.
Now, as far as the worms go, turns out they are technically larvae. There are theories that the “gusano” is an aphrodisiac, has hallucinogenic powers, or makes you drunker, but none have been proven. There is also a belief that it changes the taste of the agave and makes for better mezcal. As much as I am a sucker for a good marketing ploy to get people to do unusual shit, I prefer my mezcal critter free.
Traditionally, mezcal is sipped alongside an orange wedge with a pinch of salt. Sometimes, that salt can be gusano salt, but you know how I feel about that! While this is still an option, my friend Michael Green at The Post at Lamar Park is teaching us how to make a Mango and Cash. Leave it to me to find another handsome bartender to make this post go full circle!
Michael is more than just a pretty face, he has a “mad scientist” reputation that make his cocktails a form of art you can sip on with friends. Craft cocktails are the staple of The Post and his “experiments” have led this gastropub to be named The Bend Magazine’s Local List Best Cocktail since 2016 and hold the Best Cocktail title for Brunch on The Bay.
Now, enjoy this video of me awkwardly watching Michael teach us how to my new favorite drink- The Post's Mango and Cash!
Mango and Cash
Ginger Infused Agave
The Post's Mango Mix: mango juice, peach liquor, like juice, and a few drops of spicy pepper infused vodka
Candied Bell Pepper & Lime (garnish)