Mezcal…from the nahuatl word “mexcalli” meaning cooked maguey from metl’ (maguey) and ixcalli (cooked) has been elaborated in Mexico for more than 400 years. Often called “the elixir of gods” because it is rumored that a lightning bolt hit an agave plant, cooking the heart (pina) and releasing the sacred liquid. It’s origins date back to ancient times in Mesoamerica, where agave spirits were already being produced, Pre-Columbian era.
An example of Clash of Cultures is evident from the use of alembic stills of Arabic origin in the production that expanded and improved manufacturing. This technique is still in use today.
In 1585 a Royal Order was issued in Aranjuez, Spain to stop the production of spirits extracted from the agave plant in the New Spain. Back then, Mezcal was produced in 30 localities only.
In 1749 the Private Court of Prohibited Beverages was created to control the production and sale of agave products. Elizacoechea, Bishop of Valladolid (today Morelia, Michoacán), gave the order to ex-communicate any producer or consumer of Mezcal.
The members of the Prohibited Beverages Court were in charge of applying severe punishments to offenders. For Spaniards, the loss of their property, ex-communication, and exile from their city of residence. Those belonging to another race would receive floggings, severe beatings and torture.
Mezcal was prosecuted, punished, forbidden, and even looked down upon during the prohibition era, which led to the legend of MALASANTA being born….
As legend has it, she lived and died in the eighteenth century, her real name was never known. She alone mastered trafficking Mezcal throughout the Viceroyalty and giving back to the people who had lost everything in “La Conquista”.
It’s no secret that Mexico’s best-kept secret is mezcal. Mezcal is more than a spirit, like Mexican people, it has a proud history linked to resistance and mysticism and has quickly gained popularity in the US and around the world. Mezcal is a purely artisanal and indigenous product, associated with festivals, rituals, and the cures of the land that can be enjoyed either “kissed” or in cocktails.“
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