Monday, December 29, 2008

Mezcal Video

Oh, how I love this little video on the real, traditional method of making mezcal. It helps to understand Spanish, but you can catch the vibe even if not.

Making real mezcal requires far more care and effort than could possibly be recouped at any price. So the good stuff, like these guys are making, is literally priceless (though if you can find it sold anywhere, which you most likely won't, you'll generally pay under $10/bottle). And the mezcal that's sold commercially is total crap, with corners cynically cut. In any case, it's very, very seldom that you see the real process as it's made by real, non-cynical, non-commercial people. What a blessing YouTube is...

It may strike you as inappropriate for a little kid to be involved in mezcal culture. But it's essential to understand that mezcal, for indigenous people in Southern Mexico, isn't booze for getting drunk and all messed up. It's a
sacrament. And that's why they knock themselves out to make it.

Let me at least get you started, translation-wise:

Title: "Dad's Palenque"

"Here, folks are very used to drinking a drink that comes from the maguey's called "mezcal".

Ooeey, but to make mezcal is
so laborious!

The place where it's made is called a "palenque"

My Dad has one, and I'll take you.

It has to be near to "un rollo" [slang], and in a second I'll tell you why.

We've arrived in Dad's palenque, where they make mezcal.

The rest is explained visually.

Also check out the film about making (incredible-looking)
nopales soup.

Here are
tons more videos from the same producers. You can see the full video index on their website (here's an English translation). They're doing amazing work; if I can figure out how, I'll gladly donate to their efforts.


David said...

Thank you for sharing this. I fell in love with Mezcal while staying with friends in Zejuatinajo (sp?) who brought there Mezcal from Oaxaca. Do you know of an importer where we can buy mezcal in the US? Any help appreciated!

Jim Leff said...

Well, the really good stuff can't even be found in stores in Mexico. It's made in villages, and isn't sold commercially.

There is one quality importer to the States, but he's absurdly overpriced and none of his stuff is near top-rate. Most is comparable to average mezcal you can find down there, though one or two of his products (drat, I don't have my notes right here) are a notch or two above that, i.e. worth a B+).
Here he is:

He's a very slick marketer, so don't get too swept away by the sales spiel or believe his hype.

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