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Oaxaca Mescal Production

Tequila and mescal are Mexican aperitifs, distilled from the sap of different species of the agave plant. Tequila is to mescal as Cognac is to brandy. Legally tequila can only be produced around the town by the same name, near Guadalajara -- just as champagne only comes from the Champagne region, near Paris. Oaxaca is famous for mescal, distinctive for having a dead caterpillar at the bottom of each bottle to prove the high alcohol content.
mezcal87.jpg (90525 bytes) Mescal is made in three stages: 
1)
Agave is harvested after 8-10 years. The leaves are removed, leaving compact hearts or pinas (literally "pineapples"). 
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mezcal90.jpg (73604 bytes) 2) The pinas are steamed in an oven and crushed (often with a stone wheel pulled by a horse) to release the sap.  mezcal92.jpg (96576 bytes)

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3) Yeast is added to the sap. After fermentation themezcal96.jpg (71383 bytes) liquid is distilled twice to purify it.

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mezcal103.jpg (83574 bytes) mezcal88.jpg (95335 bytes)Mescal is sold in glass bottles or aged in oak barrels. The sample bottles are of different ages and flavors.

Other topics to view: 
Colonial Streets;
Permanent and Periodic Markets;
Folk Dancing; Easter Procession; Weaving