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Mezcal is a Mexican distilled liquor made from the agave plant, with ninety percent of mezcal being produced in the state of Oaxaca. It is one of the southernmost regions of Mexico with a large coastline along the Pacific Ocean. The state is biologically diverse and includes different terrains from forests to sandy beaches to an arid desert landscape. As the agave fields are scattered throughout the terrain with many plants having a life cycle between 5 and 30 years before they are ready to harvest. This is what makes mezcal so unique and quite expensive, farmers spend time and resources to care for the agave.
The main difference between Mezcal and Tequila is the flavor profile. Mezcal has a distinct smoky flavor that gives it a clear distinction from Tequila. The smokiness of Mezcal is a stylistic feature unique to different regions and small producers. Mezcal is a vital piece of Oaxacan mythology and tradition – The agave was a sacred and mythical plant in pre-Spanish Mexico. The Mexican culture passes down the myth that Mezcal originated when an agave plant was struck by lightning. The inside of the plant, called the Piña, was cooked and the juices released. The juice of the agave, because of this tale, is known as ‘elixir of the gods’.
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