It’s time to get your fiesta on because Friday 21st October is National Mezcal Day. Well “What’s Mezcal?” I hear you utter and what’s more, “why does it deserve it’s own day?” Well in the case of this very fine spirit… If you know, you’ll know! Peyotito, recently launched Mexican restaurant in West London, want us all to know about mezcal so you can celebrate with them and get to appreciate the mystery of mezcal for yourself.
We were fortunate enough to be party to a mezcal tasting workshop in the private dining room of Peyotito and as our host explains, if tequila is the child of agave spirits then mezcal is the mother. Made for centuries throughout Mexico, for non mezcal drinkers, it can be likened to it’s companion tequila in that they are both made from agave in a process where the piñas, the heart of the agave, are cooked underground in ovens. The 7 steps to making any agave spirit remain the same, you plant, grow, harvest, cook, crush, ferment, distill it twice then bottle it. The main difference with tequila and mezcal is that in tequila, the deeply flavoured agave pulp is then discarded whereas mezcal’s fermentation and distillation process includes all the fibres and the meat. In turn, the flavour of mezcal is much richer and smokier. The quality of the spirit can really be tested when you drink each one alongside one another and really pick out the different nuances of each of the mezcal’s.
We go from ‘Mezcal Los Dazantes’ which is a deep smoky Mezcal made from 100% Agave Espadin and reposed in French Oak, to a Mezcal so rare that only 20 bottles have been made. Produced by distillers, Los Siete Misterios, they have an assortment of mescals made by different agaves and different processes, our very rare find has been hand-made meaning the process of extracting the pulp from the agave is done manually. There are also a host of other unique milling techniques including using a horse to crush it. It is not unusual for Mezcal to have interesting production methods and most of the delight behind this spirit is that every producer has a story behind it. Many of the distilleries are small and from indigenous tribes in Mexico so this is their offering for the World to enjoy.
Each bottle is uniquely designed to suit the mescal and the iconic Mexican illustrations laden the bottles. The method of drinking mescal is also relative, in ceremonies, mescal is drunk out of a dried fruit shell and offered around. This is a spirit made with soul, from the soul made to enrich your soul and if you’re still wondering why many of the mescals don’t have the little worm in the bottom, well, that was only a method used to differentiate tequila and mescal. We think that now the mescal really does speak for itself.
Mescal is the perfect drink in a social setting and we really loved the inventiveness Peyotito have put into their laid back restaurant. As the sister branch of Peyote in Mayfair, Peyotito have their individual identity while still offering the same great and authentic Mexican Fayre. The menu is mainly dairy and gluten-free while still retaining the earthy base flavours of Mexico. On weekends Peyotito offer up a brunch with classics such as, Huevos Rancheros and Chilaquiles Rojos. Of course, no trip to Peyotito would ever be complete without making your way through their expertly crafted drinks menu. Before we got stuck into the mescal, we were served their signature Mescal Margaritas which in true Peyotito panache was served in a tajín rimmed glass and included a vial of mescal to add as you please.
The smokiness of the house mescal complements the sour lime and once you try this, you’ll never want to go back to a regular Margarita again. Their cocktail list is perfect for Peyotito, only offering tequila and mezcal cocktails alongside a list of wines. We recommend however, trying out some of the mezcal’s neat and we think you will be pleasantly surprised at the aromatic flavours that will compliment the vibrant dishes on the menu.
Here’s hoping Peyotito will help to make mescal known all around town so if you’re looking for a real modern take on Mexico with the honest flavours they’ve always honoured, make those ressies now! And don’t forget, Friday 21st is National Mezcal day and Peyotito will be celebrating in true Mexican style. Arriba!
For more info visit peyotitorestaurant.com