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AGAVE

A BAR WITH TACOS IN BELLINGHAM, WA

Open Everyday. Always 21+.

IN HOUSE MEZCAL

MEZCAL

Mezcal is distilled alcohol made from any type of agave. Agaves—or magueys—are found mainly in Mexico and grow as far south as the equator. Most mezcal is made in the state of Oaxaca, though it can also be legally produced in Durango, Guana juato, Guerrero, San Luis Potosí, Tamaulipas, Zacatecas, Michoacan, and Puebla.

A single village can contain dozens of production houses, called fabricás or palenques, each using methods that have been passed down from generation to generation, some using the same techniques practiced hundreds of years ago.

Traditional mezcal production begins with underground roasting of the entire piña (heart) of the agave plant in an earthen, stone, or brick oven. This imparts the smoky aromatics and flavor commonly associated with mezcal. After roasting, the piña is crushed and mashed, traditionally on a tahona (a stone wheel turned by a horse or other pack animal) and then left to ferment in large vats or barrels.

After fermentation, the pulque (fermented mash) is transferred to copper or clay pot stills, and distilled twice before bottling. Barrel aging is less common with mezcal than tequila—most mezcals are bottled joven, completely unaged, or with minimal time in oak.

Mezcal is highly varied, depending on the species of agave used, the fruits and herbs added during fermentation and the distillation process employed. Some mezcals are flavored during distillation with fruit, spices, and meats.

Sotol, Raicilla, and Bacanora are spirits produced with similar methods, but from non-agave desert plants, or outside the legally defined areas for producing mezcal.
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IN HOUSE TEQUILA

TEQUILA

Tequila is distilled exclusively from the blue agave plant, primarily in the Mexican state of Jalisco. Mexican law states that tequila can only be produced in the state of Jalisco and limited parts of Guana juato, Michoacán, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas.

Although some tequilas have remained as family-owned brands, most well-known tequila brands are owned by corporations. Roughly 100 distilleries produce more than 900 brands of tequila in Mexico. Consequently, every bottle of tequila includes a serial number (NOM) denoting which distillery produced the spirit.

The red volcanic soil in the region around the city of Tequila is particularly well-suited to the cultivation of Blue Agave, and more than 300 million of the plants are harvested there each year. Agaves grown in Los Altos (highlands) are larger in size and sweeter in aroma and taste. Agaves harvested in Los Valles (lowlands) have a more herbaceous fragrance and flavor.

In tequila production, the piña of the agave is roasted in an oven, mashed, and allowed to ferment in open containers. It is then distilled, typically twice, and either bottled immediately or aged in oak barrels. The duration of oak aging is expressed by one of the following:

Blanco (white) or Plata (silver):

clear spirit, unaged and bottled or stored immediately after distillation, or aged less than two months in stainless steel or neutral oak barrels.

Reposado (rested):  

aged a minimum of two months, but less than a year in oak barrels of any size.

Extra Añejo (extra aged):

aged a minimum of three years in oak barrels.

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