Tequila's bastard cousin
So Paul and I tend to focus our travels on eating and drinking. I figure there is no better way to take in a place than to taste and drink locally produced and in-season dishes and drinks. When we first got into Mexico we were excited about the cheap and good quality Tequila. We started a ‘tequila log’ rating the flavours and value of each bottle we sampled, but since being in Oaxaca we have discovered a much cheaper local drink- Mezcal. The lonely planet describes mezcal as “tequila’s bastard cousin”, and after sampling a few drinks, I would tend to agree.
On the drive up from the coast to Oaxaca City we passed by several booths advertising mescal, though you can buy it at most corner stores. We pulled off at one of the booths and discovered a micro-distillery under a house. We got the man who makes it to siphon some into an empty bottle that we had for the low low price of 35 pesos (about 3 dollars Canadian). Apparently mezcal is most often “enjoyed” straight. We experimented with a few flavour-masking mixes discovering that the flavour is very hard to mask. Our favourite blend is mezcal and Clamato, aptly named the ‘Bloody Mez’.
In the small mountain village of San Jose del Pacifico, we checked out a mezcal bar serving over 30 types of the drink with various fruity, sweet, and savoury flavours. After tasting several we decided that it was an acquired flavour.