Mezcal and Tequila are truly native Mexican spirits, and there is a heritage and history and culture associated with this exotic elixir dating back over a thousand years. Before the Spaniards brought alembic stills to Mexico in the early 1500’s, the Aztecs consumed a wine-like liquid called Pulque (lightning nectar, a gift from the gods) made from fermented syrup extracted from the heart of the agave plant, which the Spanish called Vino de Mezcal. Although the consumption of Pulque was reserved almost exclusively for religious ceremony, the agave plant, also known as the maguey, was utilized by Mexico’s Native Americans for virtually everything from food and drink and sugar to shoes, soap, building supplies, rope, and even as medicine, and was affectionately referred to as mother’s milk. These pre-Conquest civilizations worshipped two goddesses, who will forever be linked to the agave, in spirit, in life, and in virtually all forms of art, Xochiquetzal, goddess of intoxication and desire [many believe this to be the origin for our word cocktail], and Mayahuel, goddess of fertility.
It is time that we, the Tequila and Mezcal consumers of the world, pay our respects to the artisan producers that have truly mastered their craft. If you sincerely desire el mejor, the finest of exotic elixirs, perhaps the most complex and exciting spirits in the world today, consider the heritage, the history, the culture of Mexico’s national spirit, the pride of an entire nation, and at the very least, be sure the bottle says 100% Agave, hecho en Mexico.
Steve Olson, aka winegeek, New York, NY