Mezcal of Oaxaca, Mills and Process, Making Mezcal
Oaxaca City was built by the Spanish colonists starting in the 1520s and therefore has many European style buildings, many built in the 1600s. Earthquakes have caused rebuilding over the years but the preserved colonial center of the city maintains a European feel and still has many classic colonial buildings and churches.
The Spanish colonist brought the craft of distilling to Oaxaca. The indigenous had used the Maguey to make a fermented drink called pulque
Oaxaca stands unique among world cities because of its thriving indigenous population, 11 or so languages still spoken within the mountainous State and the many ancient rituals still practiced. This combining of the colonial Spanish, modern European, and indigenous culture gives Oaxaca a flair for art and spectacle unique in the world. In the mountains around the city, Mezcal (Mescal) is still made in the rustic and traditional way.
Oaxaca City is surrounded by mountains that rise to nearly ten thousand feet. The settlement was established in a valley at 5000 feet and the surrounding mountains have isolated the villages somewhat and perpetuated the speaking of the ancient languages and the practice of the old customs.
Oaxaca Bus Service now connects the city with nearly every village and provides a way for the people of the mountains to visit the city and for visitors to Oaxaca to travel to the remote places.
Visiting a Oaxacan Mezcal Mill:
For independent travelers: To visit a rustic Mezcal mill, the buses go to San Lorenzo al Baradas and Matatlan near Mitla from the second class bus station.
Private vehicle: south from Oaxaca City on Route 190 for 30 miles.
Otherwise, tour agencies include a visit in their trips to Herve el Agua.
You can visit the mills and watch as they make pure Mezcal.
One of the best views is the Village of Matatlan where the entire main street on the highway south is devoted to the making and selling of Mezcal. You can make photos of the harvest, the baking, the grinding, the fermenting, and the distilling. Tasting is offered.
Mezcal in Oaxaca:
The making of Mezcal is often a family business carried on in the rustic Mezcal mills located in the hills surrounding the City of Oaxaca in South Central Mexico.
The photo above center shows a horse pulling a round stone used to crush the Agave pino or heart of the plant after it has been baked in an earthen oven.
Oaxaca farmers gather the wild agave for the making of Mezcal
Mezcal in Oaxaca is made from the agave plant, locally called the Maguey.
The plant is ready to harvest after eight years under cultivation.
Mezcal will be made from the heart of the maguey plant, shown here with the spiked leaves removed.
Oaxaca is mountainous country where the agave grows wild. When harvested in the wild, the plant will take 12 years to reach harvest size.
Mezcal in Oaxaca, Made in Rustic Mills. Making Mezcal in Oaxaca follows tradition
Oaxacan dining will Traditionally start with a small glass of Mezcal
Mezcal of Oaxaca Page 1
Mezcal is made in Oaxaca, often in rustic Mezcal Mills that are a family business involving several generations. In Oaxaca Mezcal is made from the agave plant, locally called the Maguey.
The plant is ready to harvest after eight years under cultivation or twelve years in the wild.
Mezcal in Oaxaca is sold at the place of manufacture. Oaxaca State produces Mezcal in many small family business involving several generations. The most notable village for the production of Mezcal near Oaxaca city is Matatlan in the south east.
Mezcal in Oaxaca starts with the Agave
While driving in the mountains southeast of Oaxaca you might come upon a straw hut with large wooden vats, a curious round stone with a central axial pole, and an adjacent pit of smoke-blackened rocks. You will have had found a Mezcal mill.
The operators of the rustic site with all the appearance of a moonshine operation will be delighted to show you around and to let you join the group of locals lined up as the unofficial quality control committee. You can join them and sample some freshly distilled Mezcal as it trickled from the cooling spigot.