33 Books Co. recently announced a new mezcal-tasting journal today, the latest in the line of tasting notebooks. 33 Jícaras de Mezcal is an English-language journal designed to help mezcal drinkers chronicle the examples they sample.
“Mezcal is a very special drink,” said Tess Rose Lampert, Spirit Instructor and Co-Creator of the mezcal journal. “In many ways, its various forms tell the story of Mexico and its people. At one end of the spectrum, you have wild-grown, hand-harvested agaves roasted, fermented, and distilled by mezcaleros in rural villages, made for family and friends using techniques that haven’t changed in hundreds of years. At the other end, there are modern producers who cultivate agave on large-scale farms and produce mezcal in volume-driven batches with updated technology. There are tasty examples to be found at both extremes, and everywhere in between."
Reflecting its rustic origins, the journal’s name comes from the name for the traditional vessel used to imbibe mezcal, a small dried gourd called a “jícara,” still used in many mezcalerías.
The inside front cover of the book contains a crash course on mezcal, defining some of the vocabulary unique to this spirit, including its relationship to the more widely-known—and related—Mexican drink: tequila.
“Like tequila, mezcal is made from distilled agave. Technically, tequila is a type of mezcal,” said Lampert. “But mezcal can be made from up to 35 different varieties of agave, while tequila is confined to just one—the blue agave. Mezcal can be made in many different Mexican states, while tequila comes from just a small area. These are some of the qualities that give mezcal a broader flavor spectrum.”
Dave Selden, Co-Creater and Founder of 33 Books, added, “I didn’t know what mezcal was, to be honest. After a few minutes with Tess, I was intrigued. Once I tasted a few she suggested, I was hooked. Mezcal has flavors you really don’t find in other spirits—wildly tropical, citrusy, spicy. Each sample I tried seemed to expand the definition of what this drink could do.”
33 Jícaras de Mezcal is available now for $5 each at 33Books.com and specialty stores nationwide.