Tequila has the headlines, but its traditionally down-market cousin, mezcal, is rapidly moving up the social scale. From being disdained by most – except for novelist Malcolm Lowry in his masterpiece Under the Volcano – as a low-grade firewater with a worm in its bottle, consumption at bars has almost doubled in the past four years, while exports have tripled. Mexico produces just 2 million litres of the spirit made from the heart of the cactus-like agave plant, or about 1% of the volume of tequila it makes. But aficionados say the subtle flavours of mescal, partly a result of the varied soil qualities in which the agave plant grows, give it a far greater range and personality. We’re a big fan. For a good summary of the beauties of quality mezcal, check out the link here.
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