How Is Mezcal Made?

Mezcal is a distilled spirit made from agaves. The definition might make you think of tequila and doubt whether mezcal and tequila are the same. But they aren’t. Mezcal can be made from almost 30 varieties of agave grown in nine areas of Mexico while tequila is only made out of blue agave grown in five Mexican regions around the Town of Tequila.

Mezcal has an important place in online alcohol sales. In this article, we are discussing the traditional production process of mezcal in detail.

Steps In The Traditional Production Of Mezcal

Here are the steps in mezcal production.

Harvesting

Agave plant has a life span of about 25-30 years and its heart, known as piña is used in the production of mezcal. The plant produces just one flower in its lifetime and dies off after flowering. The piña is cut out from the agave before its flowering stage.

Agaves are usually harvested when they are up to seven or eight years old. After they are harvested, the spines are cut off and the remaining piña is used in mezcal production. Each piña may weigh up to 100 kg.

Roasting

The agave hearts are roasted inside pits with river stones placed on top. The piñas are cut into halves or quarters and placed inside the roasting pits once the stones get red hot. The pit is then covered with agave leaves, and fibers and then piled up with earth. The piñas are then left to roast for four consecutive days.

After the roasting period is over, the piñas are taken out of the pit.

Crushing

The roasted agave is ground inside grinding mills with stone wheels that are usually pulled by horse or mule. As the roller is pulled by the horse, a person moves the agave in the mill to ensure that all agave is milled enough.

Fermentation

The crushed agave is allowed to ferment inside wooden barrels. Hot water is added to the barrel with crushed agave and then cold water is filled to the top of the barrel. The whole mix is left to ferment for several days and the time required will depend on the weather. Hot weather speeds up fermentation.

Distillation

After the fermentation process is over, the mash is distilled. The first distillation produces low grade alcohol. The fibers in the still are removed and the alcohol is distilled a second time.

Blending

After the second distillation, mezcal undergoes blending to produce consistent grade alcohol. The mezcal can be bottled right away without aging like in the case of Joven or Blanco, the unaged mezcals. Understand that Mezcal production uses complex ingredients and the process is a labor-intensive one.