On Friday, October 27 I attended one of my favourite reporting assignments of 2017: the Sixth Annual National Mezcal Fair, held at La Perla Restaurant. Our hosts for the evening were La Europea and tonight their purpose was to teach the public about this uniquely Mexican alcoholic drink and try out several brands.
This was not my first visit to La Perla. It was here where I was first introduced to the drink pulque, another of their specialty alcoholic beverages. Like tequila, mezcal is made from the agave plant, which is native to this county and grows in many parts of Mexico. The unique, fermented product that we enjoy today first came into being after the conquistadors arrived; the result of much experimentation with the plant. The origins of the word ‘mezcal’ are Nahuatl, translating to ‘oven-cooked agave.’
So how does one drink mezcal? In a previous article I wrote about the art of drinking tequila, and the same applies to its strong, smokey-flavoured cousin. It’s consumed straight, and not all in one shot. You first take in its aroma through your nose and hold your breath, followed by a mouthful. Hold it for a second or two, swallow, then open your mouth and exhale, letting the fumes escape. It actually feels like they could be flammable.
I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Mexico does export this product and it is growing in demand. Currently the United States and Japan are the main buyers. Mezcal may not be as popular as tequila, or as well known outside of the country, but it certainly is distinctly Mexican.
Now that I’ve hopefully piqued your interest, why not have an evening of mezcal tasting with your friends? Check out La Perla’s Facebook page: Laperlapixan for more information about their menu and hours of operation.