Skip to content

Mezcal Encyclopedia

Tools of the trade

Tools of the trade

Everything you ever wanted to know about mezcal but didn’t know to ask.

Bagasso

Bien Picado

Ensemble

Garafone

Hijuelos

Mezcla

Minero

Penca

Piñas

Pechuga

Quiote

Sal de Gusano

Silvestre

Tahona

Vaso Veladora

 

8 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jerry Longden #

    I read at Tequila.com that Mezcal and Mescal are both correct spellings. What is your understanding and why? Thanks.

    May 19, 2015
  2. Yes, neither is incorrect but mescal seems like an older term in English while mezcal is the definitive spelling in Spanish. In the English speaking world it really depends on which publication you’re reading because magazines like the New Yorker use mescal. As I write thsi response Word Press labels mescal as correct and mezcal as incorrect. Some publications use both interchangeably while still others have made the leap to mezcal. Maybe it’s finally time to find a good etymologist. Any volunteers?

    May 20, 2015
  3. Jerry #

    My feeling precisely. Mezcal seems to be the traditional use choice, which is what I use. However, in Mexico, it seems to depend where you’re from because I have seen both spellings used on labels.

    July 20, 2016
  4. Mark Huebner #

    I have encountered the idea that changing the s to z was an attempt to distance the product from any association with mescaline, the hallucinatory compound found in several types of cactus, peyote being one. There are still abundant and silly connotations which blur the line between the authentic distilled product and the stuff of drug lore. I cannot quote a reliable source.

    February 1, 2017
    • Hi Mark,

      I haven’t heard that explanation and tend to think that it’s more a question of transliteration which might meant that the word mescaline is in the same sort of linguistic territory.

      February 2, 2017
      • Mezclado was the term used in colonial Mexico for pulque that had been mixed with psychoactive herbs, including hallucinogens. In something like 1545-50 the Viceroy of Mexico outlawed Pulque Mezclado. Whereas planting wine grapes was required of land-grant hidalgos (“sons of somebody”) the altiplano was too arid (exception: baja near Tecate). My understanding is that the Spanish, desperate for hooch, were using their on-board brandy stills to distill un-mixed pulque, hence Mezcal (and Tequila.)
        My source for this information is Alcohol: A History by Roderic Phillips, University of North Carolina Press.

        I hope I’m not being a PIA–I think you guys be way fine good.

        June 30, 2017
  5. Dan Coffman #

    Thank you for teaching me “bagasso”! I was wondering what the fibrous stuff they pack on top of the pinas during roasting was, but didn’t know how to describe it to Google.

    March 27, 2017
    • Hi Dan,

      Glad to be of help! If you ever have any other terminology questions, just ask!

      Max

      March 27, 2017

Leave a Reply

You may use basic HTML in your comments. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS