Mezcal is definitely having a thing at the moment, which I for one am delighted about. I’ve loved this spirit ever since I discovered it, first in cocktails and then as a drink to sip and savor.
Although it’s made in Mexico from the agave plant, it’s very different from tequila. In fact, tequila is a mezcal, but it’s made predominantly from the blue agave. Spirits made from other agaves are mezcals, and the taste varies with the type of agave as well as, naturally, the process.
To learn all about mezcals read The Mezcal Experience.
How is SUSTO MEZCAL Made?
SUSTO MEZCAL is a super-premium mezcal made with 100 percent espadín joven agave, the agave plant that’s most commonly used to make mezcal. It’s made in the way mezcal has been made for centuries, cooking the hearts of the agave in stone-lined pits over wood fires.
These mezcal distilleries are known as palenques and SUSTO is made by maestro mezcalero Crispin Perez in his family-owned palenque in the small town of San Dionisio Ocotepec in Oaxaca, one of the nine Mexican states allowed to call their distilled agave spirit mezcal.
On a recent visit to Jalisco touring tequila distilleries, I discovered how invested distilleries are in their local communities. Even major distillers like Patron give back to their community in many ways, and SUSTO MEZCAL over in Oaxaca is no exception. A portion of their sales goes to fund educational scholarships for Oaxacan middle and high school students. Beneficiaries are chosen based on a combination of academic achievement and economic need.
Tasting SUSTO MEZCAL
Worthy causes are all very well, but you’ll only raise money for them if the stuff inside the bottle is good. Fortunately, it is. Very good indeed.
What’s interesting about mezcal is that if you gave some to someone to sniff without telling them what it was, they’d say it was whisky. I know because I’ve tried it. The nose on SUSTO MEZCAL is filled with light smoke, ash, and citrus. It’s very pungent, the kind of spirit you would happily carry on sniffing if the aromas didn’t make you want to drink it right away.
On the palate the taste is much gentler than the nose. It isn’t as in-your-face (or maybe that should be on-your-tongue) as some mezcals. It’s still smoky but in a milder way than you think it’s going to be. It’s got floral notes, and still that touch of citrus. It has creamy vanilla qualities too, all things you’d find in a good whisky.
It slips down very smoothly, with absolutely no harshness about it at all, and with that lingering creaminess to it. It’s definitely a more-ish mezcal. So we had some more, this time with tonic and a squeeze of fresh orange juice. My, it was good.
How to Drink Mezcal
Mezcal is great for sipping, though you can also use it in cocktails, of course. An easy thing to remember is that if you can make it with tequila, you can make it with mezcal. Yes, even a margarita.
Mezcals tend to go better with orange rather than lime, though some mezcal cocktail recipes call for lime, and it also works well with rosemary. Visit the SUSTO website to find some mezcal cocktail recipes.
Where Can I Buy SUSTO MEZCAL?
Well, at the time of writing you’ll have to be in Austin, Texas, which is where the mezcal is imported and where you’ll find it in liquor stores, bars, and restaurants around the city. Next stop is to make it available in San Antonio, then throughout Texas, and eventually the rest of the USA. You can check your nearest stockist on their website.
SUSTO MEZCAL is 42% ABV with a recommended price of $40 for a 750 ml bottle. Visit the website of SUSTO MEZCAL.
If you want to try mezcals then there’s a good selection at Master of Malt.