Aug
2
2013
By
of Valet.
Four to Try
 
Los Amantes Reposado

With a tropically sweet aroma and a dry, smoky clove finish, this aged mezcal makes for easy drinking.

$56, at BevMo

 
 
Benesin Blanco

Unaged and organic, this is exceptionally clean with distinct herbal flavors and a sharp, spicy minerality.

$38, at D&M Liquors

 
 
Los Danzantes Reposado

The almost syrupy body of this dark mezcal (aged for a year in French oak) mixes sweet maple butter with warm wood.

$65, at K&L

 
 
Del Maguey Vida

An organic variety with bright, minerally flavors of ginger and citrus grounded with a sweet, honey cinnamon smoke.

$34, at DrinkUpNY

Don't Fear Mezcal

 

Mezcal is a spirit shrouded in mystery. There are uninformed reputations that it's simply shoddy tequila. There are myths about dead worms and scorpions. The truth? Mezcal is a complex spirit that, like its better-known cousin tequila, is made in Mexico from the agave plant. But while tequila is mostly made from blue agave and cooked in large factory ovens, the best mezcals use espadin agave and roast it with mesquite wood in rock-lined earthen pits, producing a distinct smoky profile. It's a rustic, old world production that's been done the same way in small towns in the Mexican state of Oaxaca for generations. The result is pungent, earthy and spicy. Put another way, mezcal is to tequila what rye is to bourbon. You can sip it on the rocks or mix into your favorite tequila drinks to add a subtle, smoky punch—just don't waste it on a shot.

 
 
  •  
    What's with the worm?
It's the larva of the agave snout weevil—a pest that can severely damage the agave plant. And though the custom is relatively recent, some brands began putting alcohol-cured larva in bottles as a gimmick to differentiate themselves. And no, eating the worm will not make you hallucinate.
 

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