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Mezcal Encyclopedia

Tools of the trade

Tools of the trade

Everything you ever wanted to know about mezcal but didn’t know to ask.

Abocado

Agave sp

Bagasso

Batida

Bien Picado

CAM

Canoa

Capon

Churique

Coa

Cogollo

Cordon

Cuastecomate

Curandera

En Guia

Ensemble

Garrafon

Guarape

Gusto Historico

Hijuelos

Jicara

Maposteria

Mazo

Mezcla

Mezplained

Milpa

Minero

Ordinario

Palmilla

Pechuga

Penca

Perlas

Piñas

Quiote

Sal de Gusano

Shishe

Silvestre

Tahona

Tina

Tuba

Vaso Veladora

Viñaza

Comments

  • Jerry Longden
    May 19, 2015

    I read at Tequila.com that Mezcal and Mescal are both correct spellings. What is your understanding and why? Thanks.

    reply
  • Jerry
    July 20, 2016

    My feeling precisely. Mezcal seems to be the traditional use choice, which is what I use. However, in Mexico, it seems to depend where you’re from because I have seen both spellings used on labels.

    reply
  • Mark Huebner
    February 1, 2017

    I have encountered the idea that changing the s to z was an attempt to distance the product from any association with mescaline, the hallucinatory compound found in several types of cactus, peyote being one. There are still abundant and silly connotations which blur the line between the authentic distilled product and the stuff of drug lore. I cannot quote a reliable source.

    reply
      • Pennfield Jensen
        June 30, 2017

        Mezclado was the term used in colonial Mexico for pulque that had been mixed with psychoactive herbs, including hallucinogens. In something like 1545-50 the Viceroy of Mexico outlawed Pulque Mezclado. Whereas planting wine grapes was required of land-grant hidalgos (“sons of somebody”) the altiplano was too arid (exception: baja near Tecate). My understanding is that the Spanish, desperate for hooch, were using their on-board brandy stills to distill un-mixed pulque, hence Mezcal (and Tequila.)
        My source for this information is Alcohol: A History by Roderic Phillips, University of North Carolina Press.

        I hope I’m not being a PIA–I think you guys be way fine good.

        reply
  • Dan Coffman
    March 27, 2017

    Thank you for teaching me “bagasso”! I was wondering what the fibrous stuff they pack on top of the pinas during roasting was, but didn’t know how to describe it to Google.

    reply
  • Diego Garibay
    August 30, 2017

    The word Mezcal means cooked agave, and comes from the words “Metl: Maguey” und “Ixcally: cooked” from the nahuatl lenguaje, where its combined as “Mexcalli”. Why is it writen Mezcal in Spanish, because, the word in Nahualt is written: (me-šcal-tli) so this little accent over the “S” makes a phoneme “z”similar to the phoneme “th” in english, which in spanish from spain has a similar sound. Both words are accepted in english though. In Spain they write Mexico: “Méjico” and it is accepted, so the rules can vary from country to country even with the same lenguaje.

    reply
  • Sanjit keksar
    June 1, 2021

    Is there a difference between the terms Mezcalero and palenquero? As i see it a mezcalero would be the distiller with the maestro mezcalero being the equivalent of a the Master Distiller while a palenquero is a mezcal producer. They may be the same in a small production house but not in some of the larger scale ones….is that the right understanding?

    reply
    • Susan Coss
      June 1, 2021

      Great question! Mezcalero and Palenquero mean the same thing. In Oaxaca, the places where mezcal is made is traditionally called a Palenque. In other states it is called a vinata and the makers therefore are called vinateros. A maestro mezcalero is a more modern term and it can mean the actual distiller or the person who oversees the whole process but doesn’t necessarily make the mezcal, if that makes sense.

      reply
  • SANJIT KESKAR
    June 1, 2021

    So that means the persons who are ‘technically’ involves with the production of mezcal are called Mezcaleros or palenqueros. Is Fabricas another term for a place where mezcal is produced?

    reply
    • Susan Coss
      June 2, 2021

      It means they are the people making the mezcal. A fabrica is a general term for a factory or a place where something is manufactured, so sometimes you will hear that word even though it is not a term specific to mezcal or the making of mezcal like palenque or vinata or even taberna.

      reply

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