Friday, May 19, 2017

Books: The Mezcal Rush

Mezcal may be the oldest distilled spirit in the Americas, but it has recently exploded in popularity. In The Mezcal Rush: Explorations in Agave Country, Granville Greene vividly describes his quest through the Mexican highlands to learn more about the varied cultures, plants, and traditions surrounding the drink, which has become a craft cocktail darling.

He soon finds that, unlike most high-end spirits, small-batch mezcals are typically produced by and for subsistence farming communities, where maestros mezcaleros distill their signature drinks using local agaves and artisanal production methods honed through generations of mezcal-making families. Greene visits remote indigenous villages in Oaxaca and Guerrero states, where the spirit is never mixed into cocktails and is reserved instead for consuming puro on special occasions—a liquid language celebrating community identity along with the diverse characters of numerous agave species.

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