Emma Janzen has penned a companion to the bartender’s under-utilised spirit called Mezcal. People often assume it is a brand of tequila but in fact the opposite is nearer the truth. Tequila is made from only one variety of agave, where Mezcal is allowed a broader choice and therefore a larger range of taste experiences.
This unique spirit is produced in Mexico and has been for centuries. It wasn’t well-known outside the Americas until relatively recently. Most mezcal is still artisanal in nature, produced using the traditional small-batch techniques, with producers finding the raw material, agave, in the wild.
Key to the flavour profile
Emma presents the history of, and information on, the distilling process, along with a guide to some of the most popular agaves used. These different plants are key to the flavour profile of the resulting mezcal. But the bar professional will want to taste and use the spirit. The book contains dozens of cocktails to showcase the breadth of possibilities.
This is a book that barmen across the globe will likely covet. It’s an engaging volume that considers all aspects of the mezcal story, from the men who harvest the agave to those who blend and market the product. The recipes are an indispensable aspect of the book, along with suggestions for glassware and garnishes, and all written by those in the trade. Mezcal: The History, Craft and Cocktails of the World’s Ultimate Artisanal Spirit is written very much with professionals in mind. Those living in the US will welcome the list of bars stocking mezcal. For the rest of us this volume will tempt us to buy a bottle or two, and the fixin’s for a few rather delicious and complex cocktails. I have my eye on El Burro Fantasma. It uses Aperol. I have Aperol!
Mezcal: The History, Craft and Cocktails of the World’s Ultimate Artisanal Spirit
Author: Emma Janzen
Publisher: Voyageur Press
Book review by Chrissie Walker © 2018