Many of us have asked what mezcal is and where this distilled drink originated. As a fundamental premise, we would say that mezcal parallels the very life of Mexicans, meaning that the drink, like Mexico, is a mixture of two civilizations—that of the indigenous peoples who inhabited Mexico and that of the Spanish who conquered our lands.
Starting with this fusion of civilizations, we can see how the alcoholic beverage of mezcal came about. The pre-Hispanic cultures, namely the Aztecs, had a fascination with the maguey plant both because it was seen to have held a certain mysticism (the word mezcal is derived from the Nahuatl word “metl” which means generous and worthy of admiration) and for its many uses. The maguey plant was especially valuable because it grew almost anywhere, and each of its parts could be used—the thorns, the heart of the maguey (piña), the leaves and the roots—for anything from building homes to making paper, fabrics, shoes, and ropes. It was also used as fuel and has many medicinal and religious purposes. Likewise many everyday foods and drinks of that time derived from the maguey plant such as aguamiel (sugar water) and pulque as well as syrups, honey and a delicious candy made from stewing the plant itself which was called “mezcalli”. In short, each and every part of the maguey brings useful resources to those who harvest and care for this magical plant.
When the Spanish arrived to the New Continent and later to what is now Mexico, they taught Mexicans the process of distillation much like the Moors had taught them years before. They noticed that the cooked juices extracted from the heart (piña) of the maguey plant were highly susceptible to fermentation. Using the copper distillers brought from Spain, they were able to distill the juices and obtained the first MEZCAL, deriving the name from the Nahuatl word mezcalli.
Slowly mezcal became more and more important in everyday life throughout the nation. Each area began to develop its own methods of producing the distilled drink and thus a number of distinct beverages derived from the maguey plant, namely tequila, “bacanora”, “sotol”, “comiteco” and of course, mezcal.
In the state of Oaxaca, with its unbelievable ethic and cultural diversity, mezcal has transcended into something mystical, mythical and even magical. To the importance mezcal has in all of Oaxaca, we add the sentimental value of carrying on the family tradition for nearly a full century of making exceptional mezcals. Our traditions and ancestral secrets have been passed down for four generations, and we continue to use the family recipe in our Palenque, or distillery, today.
Thanks to all of this history, tradition and heritage, we maintain our artisanal methods under the strictest of quality control standards to offer you the world’s first certified mezcals, Místique Chromium and María de Agave Mezcals.