Every self-respecting Mexican has heard or even uttered the phrase, “para todo mal mezcal, para todo bien también” ("for everything bad, mezcal, and for everything good, too”).
This ancient drink, handcrafted in Mexico, is made by cooking the heart of the agave, or maguey, in underground ovens under dry heat, which is how the spirit acquires its signature smoky notes. Hence its name, from the Nahuatl word mexcalli, meaning "cooked maguey.”
Although several states throughout the republic are included in the Designation of Origin for mezcal, around 80% of it is produced in Oaxaca.
Speaking of this fabulous place, if you’re thinking of taking a trip somewhere but aren’t sure where to go, may we suggest Oaxaca? Not only will it delight you with its food, traditions, art, culture and music but there’s also a mezcal trail where you can learn more about the history and culture behind the spirit.
We suggest starting the tour early, so you can enjoy a breakfast of traditional yellow-mole empanadas in Santa María del Tule. There, you can also admire the famously colossal Tule Tree, known for the whimsical figures that form on its trunk and branches.
Move on to San Jerónimo Tlacochahuaya, home to a 16th-century Baroque temple to the town’s patron saint, Saint Jerome.
The journey continues in Teotitlán del Valle, where fine textiles are made on pedal looms with natural dyes, featuring pre-Hispanic or contemporary designs.
Next stop: Tlacolula de Matamoros. At this town’s Instagram-worthy market, you can find pottery, stoneware, basketry, textiles and more, as well as delicious baked goods and nieves.
Continue to San Pablo Villa de Mitla to explore the archaeological site, whose unique facades aren’t found anywhere else in the country. Be sure to visit the Temple of San Juan Apóstol, erected in the 16th century. Mitla is also a great place to pick up traditional Oaxacan clothing at good prices.
Finally, finish your tour at Santiago Matatlán, where you can visit maguey plantations, learn about the process of making mezcal and sample different varieties. Just don’t arrive with an empty stomach.
Tag us on social media to tell us which mezcal varieties you’ve tried and which were your favorites. Find us on Facebook at"Festival Oaxaca Flavors el Saber del Sabor"and on Instagram at @Oaxaca_Flavors.