Mezcal Amores

Mezcal Amores bottles and bartender pouringI’d never tried mezcal neat before. I’d had it in cocktails where bartenders told me it added a dusky smoky taste to the drink, but never had it on its own. This was obviously a real oversight, as I spend half of each year in Arizona, not far from the Mexican border, and I am, shall we say, no stranger to tequila. I make a mean Margarita. But mezcal? Well, that’s just tequila’s poor cousin, isn’t it?

That’s what I thought, anyway, till I tried some. Mezcal Amores, to be specific. From the first sniff I was curious, and hooked. Yes, it is smoky. Very smoky. Like a Scotch from Islay is smoky and peaty. But this was different. The smokiness wasn’t quite so intense. It had a clarity about it, a lightness. It was an aroma you could get lost in, and very different from tequila.

What was surprising about tasting this Mezcal Amores was how smooth it was. As smoky as hell, for sure, but with an underlying sweetness and a lightness and clarity about it. It certainly wasn’t tequila’s poor cousin, and it wasn’t like drinking a peaty whisky. It was much lighter than that, without the complexity of whisky, but still totally delightful. It was certainly a spirit to start getting excited and curious about.

Mezcal Amores bottle

Mezcal Amores
Although tequila is region-specific in Mexico, mezcal can be made in any of nine different states. Most of it is produced in the state of Oaxaca, which is where Mezcal Amores is made.

Another important difference is that while tequila can only be made from the blue agave plant, mezcal can come from any of 22 different varieties of agave. Mezcal can be made at anything from 36-55% ABV, while tequila can be 31-55% ABV.

Harvesting agave plants in Mexico for Mezcal Amores
Harvesting Agave Plants in Mexico

Mezcal has traditionally been a local village product and Mezcal Amores prides itself on staying true to these roots. They travel round villages in all nine regions looking for the best mezcal, and the best mezcal makers, known as Maestros Mezcaleros. The company then works with the Maestros, getting them to produce different samples of mezcal, looking for the flavours they want.

The process obviously works, as Mezcal Amores has won numerous awards for its products, including several gold medals in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, and recently a Best in Show and Double Gold from the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America,

Incidentally, if you’re in the USA and familiar with the name of Mezcal Amarás, don’t get confused. It’s the same company. Inside the USA they’re Mezcal Amarás but in the rest of the world it’s Mezcal Amores. You can find out more at their website, www.mezcalamores.com.

Harvesting agave plants in Mexico for Mezcal Amores

Tequila Vs Mezcal
By coincidence I’d just been reading a recent issue of Chilled magazine, which I write for, and there was a piece called Tequila Vs Mezcal by Logan Ronkainen, the owner/mixologist at Punch and Pie in New York. He’s also the head bartender at the Trattoria Il Mulino.

What Logan said was that ‘Tequila and mezcal are natural compliments to one another’, and he provides a cocktail recipe that uses them both. He also said that both of these agave spirits belong on your back bar, and can be used interchangeably in cocktails, depending on the result you want. He recommends making a Margarita with mezcal instead of tequila and taste the difference.

Chilled Magazine
Incidentally, if you’re in the booze business then you can apply to Chilled for a complimentary subscription. Check it out on their website.

More Mezcal Amores Please!
I’m really pleased to have discovered such a new (to me, anyway) and interesting spirit. I can’t wait to have a new cocktail in my repertoire – a Mezcal Amores Margarita!