Death by Sugar…
The highlight of my trip to D.F. was a lunch at legendary Azul Condessa (Nuevo León #68) with renowned Mexico City food writer Cristina Potters. I’ve followed Cristina's work for years and her blog Mexico Cooks was voted the number one food blog in the world.
Black Mole with Chicken Notice I put the Black Mole first. This was truly Mole to Die for. The chicken was just a secondary ingredient.
Salad of Arrugula, Pear, Roquefort Cheese, and Cashew in Balsamic Vinegar. One of the best salads I’ve had in Mexico.
Mezcal Amores served in a gourd. The more I drink Mezcal, the more I like it…perhaps even more than tequila? Still a question but soon to be answered.
Tres leches Cake with Rumpope I’m becoming a real fan of Rumpope made with egg yolks, vanilla, cinnamon, ground almonds, milk, sugar and liquor.
Chocolate Molten Cake This cake was so rich and was loaded with chunks of hazelnuts and chocolate.
A magical Mezcal moment in Mexico City motivated me to do a little research this past week. I love doing these beverage studies, especially when it comes to agave spirits. Remember, I am a tequila girl from way back.
Mezcal is becoming more mainstream as aficionados come to appreciate its smooth, complex, smoky flavor. It always proves its depth no matter how much fruit juice or agave syrup you happen to stream into the mix.
A long time favorite with Mexican ranchers and horsemen, Mezcal has found a new respect with young professionals in both Mexico City as well as Chicago. It’s served in Pujol in Mexico City – one of the top 50 restaurants in the world - as well as at ground zero for Chicago's cocktail culture where the Violet Hour offers mezcal creations even undertaking house infusions. It’s also becoming very popular with connoisseurs of high-end spirits.
Mezcal has genuine flavor, and it’s much more terroir-driven. My understanding of terroir-driven, and I am just learning too, is that two mezcals made from the same variety grown in sites only a few hundred yards apart can taste entirely different.
What Tequila is to Jalisco, Mezcal is Oaxaca. One of the major differences is that Mezcal is roasted underground while tequila is primed in stainless steel steamers. Mezcal is also produced in Guerrero, Durango, San Luis Potosí, Zacatecas, Tamaulipas, and Guanajuato but most of the really good, high-end Mezcal like Elixir de los Reyes comes from Oaxaca. Elixir ruled at both the Spirits of American competition this past year as well as the San Francisco World Spirits competition taking top prize.
Like Tequila, Mezcal is either 100% agave or a mixto. A mixto Tequila is 51% agave but a mixto Mezcal is required to be at least 80%.
Reposado is rested in oak from 2-11 months.
Anejo is aged 1 year or longer in oak.
The small-batch producers in Oaxaca are eager to introduce Mezcal as a spirit best consumed neat. I like it that way too. In fact, in the past few years an increasing number of high-end Mezcals have been introduced including some interesting “single village” bottling.
What Mezcal does for me is raises my depth of curiosity to a whole new level. I am just beginning to explore its intensity.