We’re kicking off our mezcal encyclopedia with the name “Minero” because we get asked about it all the time and it’s the perfect emblem for linguistic confusion in the world of mezcal. The definition is deceptively simple, it refers to an espadin mezcal from Santa Catarina Minas, but to old timers it just means a joven mezcal, presumably because Santa Catarina Minas used to make them all.
Update: One of our friends noted that the last line in our definition here “but to old timers it just means a joven mezcal, presumably because Santa Catarina Minas used to make them all.” wasn’t as clear as it could have been. We meant that for old timers Minero means any mezcal from Santa Catarina Mina regardless of the agave it was made from. Hopefully that clarifies things for everyone.
Another issue of note is that minero literally means miner in Spanish, we’re unsure of where the association comes from so if anyone can offer a clarification we and the readers of this blog would be greatly in your debt.
A further update: A reader found this quote about the origin of the term Minero.