A beautiful primer on mezcal history and production - including wild harvesting and roasting, a guide to common agave varietals, cocktail recipes, and a tasting guide.
Produced in nine Mexican states, mezcal has gained popularity among north-of-the-border cocktailians who have come to appreciate the complexity and tradition of this smoky, flavourful spirit.
Mezcal can be made from any of fifty varieties of agave that are often harvested in the wild, and always roasted prior to fermentation, then ground with stones and animal power, and distilled in clay or copper pots. It is truly the most artisanal of spirits.
The varieties of agave and the variations in manufacturing processes yield complexities not found in mezcal's more common cousin, tequila (which by law is made only from blue agave). For these reasons, enthusiasts make cogent arguments that mezcal is more akin to wine, with considerations such as varieties and terroir coming into play. Not to mention that the majority of this that's spirit available in the US is still produced using small-batch methods handed down for centuries.
Mezcal brings you a smartly written and beautifully produced primer on mezcal history and production, as a well as a guide to twenty-plus of the most common agave varietals used in production, and a tasting guide, complete with room for your own notes.
It doesn't stop there, though: the expertly curated recipe section offers up a selection of over forty craft cocktails that take advantage of mezcal's unique qualities. Throughout, author Emma Janzen, the digital editor at Imbibe magazine and a mezcal devotee, busts mezcal myths, unravels its mysteries, interviews producers, before disclosing tasting tips readers won't find elsewhere.
About the Author
Emma Janzen started writing about mezcal, cocktails, beer, and other spirits in 2010. Her work has since been published in Bon Appetit, PUNCH, Food Republic, Serious Eats, and more. Emma prefers her mezcal neat, her cocktails made with gin, and her stouts served year-round.
Long overdue, the mezcal boom has erupted in bars across America. You're going to want to learn all about this glorious spirit, and Emma Janzen's Mezcal: The History, Craft & Cocktails of the World's Ultimate Artisanal Spirit tells you what you need to know. - Rick Bayless