While anyone who’s indulged in Margarita Monday is familiar with tequila, its smoky counterpart deserves a moment to shine. Mezcal is made from fermented agave, and must come from one of eight states in Southern Mexico. While tequila, by definition, is part of the mezcal family—it has to be made from blue agave in one of five Mexican states—mezcal’s lengthy distillation process is deeply rooted in Mexican tradition. Tequila’s agave is cooked in brick or steel ovens, resulting in a smooth, crisp taste, but the agave used in mezcal is heated in below ground pits, creating its characteristic rich, smoky aroma and flavor. Here, Colleen Hughes, the head mixologist at Charlotte’s Haberdish, creates two cocktails heavy on the fruit to play off the earthy, savory notes of this traditional Mexican spirit.
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