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Mezcal seems simple but it’s full of complexity. It’s natural that the vocabulary of mezcal is quite detailed: There are words for every tool, nuance, and step in the process – and many change by location. So, it makes sense that ordinaro – meaning ordinary, usual, low quality, cheap, or crude also means “the first distillation” in Miahuatlan. Because, that first distillation is nowhere near as complex, integrated, nor complete as the second distillation. It can give you a great idea of what’s to come but the lower alcohol level means that the flavors are just going to be weaker.

Read more of our entries in the Mezcalistas Encyclopedia of Mezcal and email us questions or ideas for future entries.

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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