Magazine article Americas Quarterly

Para Todo Mal, Mezcal; Para Todo Bien, También

Magazine article Americas Quarterly

Para Todo Mal, Mezcal; Para Todo Bien, También

Article excerpt

Mezcal used to be sniffed at by Mexican sophisticates as the slightly less respectable cousin of tequila-a fiery peasant's drink consumed in dark corner bars or rural ranchos in Oaxaca, where 94 percent of Mexico's mezcal is produced. But that is no longer the case. For many trendsetters in the capital and elsewhere, mezcal has become a symbol of the nation's pre-Colombian roots and its artisanal culture.

Domestic tastes have only just caught up to the drink's increasing popularity abroad. According to Mexico's Secretaría de Agricultura, Ganadería, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentación (Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food), exports of mezcal grew 120 percent between 2006 and 2012. It's now served in some of the swankiest restaurants in New York and Paris.

"Mezcal has become a mark of sophistication," says Raúl Zamora, co-owner of Mezcal El Cortijo, one of the top-selling brands.

For connoiss eurs at home and abroad, mezcal's appeal lies in its diverse flavors and aromatics. …

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