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Del Maguey's Pechuga

After waiting for more than an hour to sit on Big Star’s perpetually crowded patio, you deserve a drink. Resist the urge to reach for your usual $3...

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After waiting for more than an hour to sit on Big Star’s perpetually crowded patio, you deserve a drink. Resist the urge to reach for your usual $3 whiskey shot, and splurge on Del Maguey’s Pechuga, a small-batch mescal made in Oaxaca that takes its name from the chicken used in its production. The limited-quantity mescal was a discovery of Del Maguey’s founder, the L.A. artist Ron Cooper, and yes, you heard that right: Chicken is used in the making of this sibling to tequila. The process starts with minero: double distilled mescal. (Quick refresher: Mescal is made from the maguey plant, a type of agave, whereas tequila is made specifically from blue agave.) The minero is dumped into a still with apples and plums that grow wild in the mountains during early fall, as well as a few plantains, pineapples, almonds and uncooked white rice. Skinned chicken breasts, which have been washed thoroughly, are then tied and hung over the still where the vapor from the mescal essentially breaks down the chicken’s proteins, dissolving it to next-to nothing and imparting an almost umami-like quality. The resulting tipple is smooth, balanced, slightly fruity, faintly smoky—but no, it does not taste like chicken. Try it at Big Star (1531 N Damen Ave, 773-235-4039) for $18 a pour.

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