Five mescals to sip and savor
Mon Jun 14 2010
Los Amantes Silvestres Ejutla
1. Del Maguey Chichicapa: Del Maguey exports several different single-village, limited-production mescals from Oaxaca, considered to be among the best available. The espadin agave in this one (the genetic mother of tequila's blue agave) is roasted with oak—making it very smoky, but still round and even. Astor Wines & Spirits, 399 Lafayette St at 4th St (212-674-7500). 750ml for $71.99.
2. Del Maguey Pechuga: Made following an ancient harvest ritual, this fermented agave is distilled through a chicken breast, the still itself packed with local fruits and nuts. The result: smooth, with a distinctly meaty scent, reminiscent of Texas-style barbecue brisket. Astor Wines & Spirits. 750ml for $189.99.
3. Los Amantes Silvestres Ejutla: With the opening of Casa Mezcal on the LES, owner Ignacio Carballido is expanding his line of mescals to include rare ones from small villages. This variety, distilled from wild agave from La Noria, has a distinct Bloody Mary quality: spicy, with a pickled-tomato scent. Casa Mezcal, 86 Orchard St between Broome and Grand Sts (212-777-2600). $13 per glass.
4. Ilegal Aejo: This aged mescal develops a sweet cedar and pine scent, thanks to more than a year spent in charred-oak barrels. Astor Wines & Spirits. 750ml for $109.99.
5. Sombra: Modeling glue comes across on this single-village mescal, but note also its great salinity and noticeable acid and spice, recalling a Maryland crab feast with vinegar and Old Bay. Astor Wines & Spirits, 399 Lafayette St at 4th St (212-674-7500). 750ml for $44.99.