WHAT IS MEZCAL?
Mezcal is the oldest distilled spirit in North America. Mezcal can only be distilled in Mexico and comes from the agave plant, also known as maguey. Tequila, which is distilled from blue agave, is technically a type of mezcal. The agave plant is a member of the Lily family and not a cactus. Mezcal can legally be made from 28 different varieties of agave. Each type of agave is distinct and most are not commercially available in the United States. In Southern Mexican Villages (particularly in the State of Oaxaca) there is a high reverence for this magical liquid and its ceremonial, social and medicinal uses. There is tremendous pride in mezcal's power and its rich, smoky, sweet body.
HOW IS MEZCAL MADE?
Mezcals are distilled from the hearts of the agave plant. A palanquero, or agave producer, extracts the piña, or heart of the agave, which is quartered, then baked in underground ovens, then crushed and finally fermented.
WHAT ARE THE SIMILARITIES BETWEEN MEZCAL & TEQUILA?
Tequila and mezcal are both made from agave. All tequilas are mezcal, but not all mezcals are tequilas. Tequila was first produced in the late 18th Century when Jose Cuervo applied to the Spanish government for a permit to make "Mezcal de Tequila."
WHAT ARE THE AGING CATEGORIES FOR MEZCAL & TEQUILA?
• Plata (sotol & tequila) or Blanco (tequila) or Joven/Puro (mezcal) = freshly distilled and clear in color
• Reposado = rested in oak for less than a year
• Anejo = aged 1 year or longer in oak
What are the differences between tequila and mezcal?
Mezcal can legally be produced in 7 states in Southern Mexico- the biggest producing State being Oaxaca. Tequila can legally be produced in 6-7 states in Northern Mexico, the biggest producing State being Jalisco. Mezcal is smokier tasting than Tequila. Mezcal is produced in small batches, roasting the agave in an earth oven. Tequila is typically made in large industrial batches, and is steamed, not roasted so there is a lack of the smokey complex flavor associated with mezcal.
WHERE DO LAS PERLAS' TEQUILAS COME FROM?
Las Perlas serves mezcal and tequila produced at distilleries in four States within Mexico: Oaxaca mezcal), Chihuahua(mezcal), Jalisco (tequila) and Tamaulipas (tequila). Within Oaxaca there are multiple small villages that make the best and purest mezcal that we have tasted. As more mezcal becomes commercially available in the United States we will carry many more products from small village and artisanal producers within multiple regions of Mexico.
HOW DID LAS PERLAS GET ITS NAME?
Down in Mexico, spirit experts test the purest mezcal by looking for "las perlas," or the pearls, a type of foam that forms when shaking the spirit slightly. While traveling in Oaxaca, Cedd and Raul, decided to name the bar Las Perlas in honor of the quality and beautiful pearls produced when shaking this magical spirit.
WHY DOES LAS PERLAS SERVE MEZCAL & TEQUILA FROM FAMILY DISTILLERIES?
The small-batch artisan-crafted mezcals and tequilas served at Las Perlas considered the finest in the world-reflect extraordinary quality, purity and nuance.
DOES THE AGAVE PLANT REALLY HAVE A GODDESS OF PROTECTION?
Yup! In pre-Columbian Mexico she's called Mayahuel, and one of her children is called Centzon Totochtin (400 Rabbits)—who is considered responsible for drunkenness—so there, now you know who to blame.
WHY DON'T ANY OF THE BOTTLES AT LAS PERLAS HAVE A WORM INSIDE?
Adding a gusano, or worm, to mezcal is a marketing sham created years ago to sell inferior, mass produced mezcal to unsuspecting tourists and American consumers. Since Las Perlas not only respects mezcal, but also its clientele, it refuses to sell such swill.
DOES MEZCAL HAVE A SPECIAL TOAST?
The ritual toast for mezcal reflects the ancient beliefs that still cling to its use: arriba (above), abajo (below), al centro (the center), para dentro (for within).