Pechuga literally means “breast” in Spanish. A pechuga mezcal is one that has been triple distilled and, in the third distillation, a turkey or chicken breast is suspended above the mezcal within the still. The alcohol dissolves the meat of the breast which tends to add a very unctuous texture to the mezcal and a variety of taste sensations.
Pechuga can be used in a more general sense to mean a mezcal that is distilled with fruits, nuts, and poultry breast but it usually contains the poultry breast. An exception is the conejo which is made with rabbit instead of poultry (conejo means rabbit in Spanish). Usually this is made clear on the label by calling the mezcal a conejo instead of a pechuga but the nomenclature can occasionally be fuzzy. Conejo mezcals are very rare, and, consequently, are much more expensive. We know there are many other variations of this out there because we’ve also had a venison pechuga from Guerrero state, and there are iguana and lobster pechugas in the market.
The taste of a pechuga will obviously vary with the contents of the mezcal. If it only contains a poultry breast or rabbit the change is very subtle but it’s clearly a different experience than a traditional mezcal. Some drinkers dislike the mouth feel of pechugas and avoid them. Obviously most of these drinks are not vegetarian nor vegan, though in the past few years there have been several “vegan” pechugas introduced in the market. When made with fruits and/or nuts pechugas have wildly different flavors that can mirror their contents or range widely.