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Abocado not avocado, let’s get that straight right out of the chute. They’re vastly different words for vastly different things. Abocado is one of those funny words that has vastly different meanings depending on the context. In the word of associations unrelated to alcohol it means “exposed” but in the world of wine it means “semisweet” or “quaffable.”

Enough with digressions, back to the mezcal because even in this world abocado has a few different meanings centered around the idea of a sweetened or infused mezcal. Frequently they are infused with fruits, nuts, herbs, and other vegetal matter. Occasionally they contain sugar, sugar cane, or honey. Occasionally worms or scorpions.

Legally there’s another very specific meaning that has even been written into law. NOM 70, the Mexican law that governs what goes into mezcal defines abocado thusly:

e)    Abocado con
       Mezcal al que se debe incorporar directamente ingredientes para adicionar sabores, tales como gusano de maguey,damiana, limón, miel, naranja, mango, entre otros, siempre que estén autorizados por el Acuerdo correspondiente de la Secretaría de Salud (Ver 2.10), así como en la NOM-142-SSA1/SCFI-2014 (Ver 2.2).
Here’s my loose translation
e) Abocado with
Mezcal that includes ingredients for additional flavors like the maguey worm, damiana, lemon, orange, mango, among others provided that they’re authorized by the Secretary of Health. (Ver 2.10), así como en la NOM-142-SSA1/SCFI-2014 (Ver 2.2).
So, even the legal definition leaves plenty of room for elaboration – as long as you get the Secretary of Health’s authority it seems like you can create the infusion of your dreams.
But what makes these different from pechugas? There are two key distinctions: First, pechugas have to be distilled with their additional ingredients. Second, pechugas can (but don’t have to!) contain meats while there is never any mention of meats being infused into abocados. I’d also surmise that the insects included in abocados are previously roasted or cooked in some way.

Max co-founded Mezcalistas with Susan way back in 2012. Before that he was a journalist at Salon.com and The San Francisco Chronicle.

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