Tequila’s Smoky Cousin

Hello from sunny Tucson, AZ! We are nestled in the Catalina Mountains surrounded by enormous cacti, lush green Palo Verde trees and it’s not as hot as I would have imagined for this time of year.

I was trying to plan where to eat and I stumbled upon a weird spirit called Mezcal. I’ve never heard of this? Of course, I had to text Dre to see if he had heard of it.

Not surprised, he knew exactly what it was and said we should go together and try a tasting. Why not? “When in Tucson…” or, at least that’s what I told myself.

Doing a bit of research in the van before arriving at our destination, I found out that Mezcal is distilled from the agave plant. So is it anything like Tequila? The answer is, no. People sometimes refer to it as “Tequila’s Smoky Cousin”. More on this later.

We pulled up to the restaurant that I found on Yelp. It had pretty good reviews and I personally don’t like going to places that have bad reviews. Thank you, social!! The restaurant is called Reforma Modern Mexican Tequila + Mezcal.

When I walked in the doors it had what seemed like every tequila you could possibly get in the world, perhaps I’m exaggerating. I was in awe, but to be honest with you all I wanted was some fresh guacamole and chips. What can I say? Put a girl in-front of some guac and you’re solid: Happy Camper!

We sat at the bar and we were greeted by the owner who was a connoisseur of Mezcal. Of course, I had a million questions for him because, let’s face it, I’m still extremely confused on what Mezcal is. Thanks to my pre-googling efforts, I knew it wasn’t tequila.

This spirit is all about the agave. Agaves take four years to mature. They are a true dinosaur in horticultural terms. They are totally different from nearly everything else humans cultivate. Once you harvest them you kill them. Seems kind of sad.

Now for the sampling…

Well, to me they all have a smoky flavor from the cooking process. The agave is cooked in pits in the ground. After they are crushed, combined with water and allowed to ferment, they also serve worm salt with your Mezcal. The red worms “guano de oro” actually live in the agave plant.

I don’t know about you but something about eating a ground up worm didn’t sit well with me. I had to wash down the worm salt with a blended margarita. Side note… the margaritas were simply delicious! 5-Star Review!!

If mezcal wasn’t on my bucket list…I guess I can add it and now check it off! One and DONE!