If you're up up to date on all things Beccalani you may remember that in my last post I committed myself to compling a body of work I've dubbed, the ABCs of Happy Healthful Living. I promise I have a whole slew of wellness related content I'm currently cooking up for you BTS. But right now I here to chat with you real quick about mezcal. Don't worry, this spirit may not be as off topic in terms of wellness as you might first think. I am by no means an aficionado when it comes to mezcal or any spirits actually, however Oaxaca is certainly on my bucket-list of dream travel destinations. I discovered the deliciousness that is mezcal when I spent my 30th birthday sipping palomas by Valentin at Hartwood in Tulum. One taste of the smoky, earthy, ashen b-day cocktail was enough to keep me ordering mezcal for the rest of the trip! You may think mezcal is just the smoky cousin of tequila, but I've come to learn the production process is much more of a respected alchemical craft then that of modern industrialized tequilas.
Unfortunately, some tequila makers today use additives like corn, grain, sulfates, and artificial colors or flavors, while mezcal is still required by law to be 100 percent agave. Today, mezcal is generally produced in the same way it was back in the 16th century. Stately agave plants are usually pollinated by bats, and can take a decade to mature before they're hand harvested. The agave's heart is then wood roasted and mashed with a giant tahona stone. If you follow @mezcalmarcanegra on Instagram, sometimes you'll get to see them demonstrating this process on their IG stories. The roasted mash is fermented naturally in wooden vats and distilled in clay pots or copper stills. This historical method makes mezcal very pure in terms of ingredients and craftsmanship. It's also gluten free which can be great for those with a gluten intolerance. One 2010 study showed the prebiotic fiber in agave could aid in digestion. I've found this to be true for me. If I enjoy one non-sugary mezcal cocktail I don't feel negatively the next day as I might if I were to drink a sweet mojito for example.
Beyond the complex and layered flavor of mezcal, its the artisanal preparation and farm to shaker vibe that really make it my drink of choice recently. Just because you may find this spirit to be a more virtuous selection than others should not give you permission to over indulge! Moderation is KEY. However, if you're in the mood to celebrate this memorial day weekend, consider crafting your own mezcal cocktail with some fresh local produce and a splash of citrus. I mixed up this drink with whatever looked the freshest out of my Sage Mountain Farm CSA box. If you're near LA and are interested in providing some seed money to a small organic family farm in exchange for weekly produce, you should check them out. For those outside LA, visit LocalHarvest.org to find a local program nearest you.
Here's to your health.
Make it a Mezcal
serving size: 1
1 teaspoon Hawaiian Alaea salt, or any quality rock salt
1 teaspoon Tajín, to season the rim
Juice of 1 lime (around 1/2 an ounce of juice), reserve a wedge for garnish
4 - 5 slices of jalapeño, optional
3 ounces fresh citrus juice, I used Oro Blanco which is similar to a white grapefruit, but regular ruby red grapefruit juice, or even orange would be good too, just try to squeeze it yourself!
1 ounce high quality mezcal
1 teaspoon honey, optional (I didn't even sweeten mine because Oro Blanco is naturally sweet!)
Combine the salt and Tajín on a small plate. Rub lime wedge around the rim of your glass to wet the edge. Dip the rim into the salt mixture till its seasoned to your desire. Place ice into bottom of glass and set aside.
In a small cocktail shaker muddle the jalapeño slices together with the honey and lime juice to release the oils. Add ice and pour in the citrus juice and mezcal. Cover tightly with a lid and shake vigorously for 30 seconds.
Strain the cocktail into the glass and garnish with more lime and jalapeño slices as you desire.
Enjoy with temperance.