When most people think of alcohol in Mexico the first image that comes to mind is a shot of Jose Cuervo tequila, a slice of lime, and a pinch of salt.
But in the state of Oaxaca it’s all about the mezcal.
Tequila and mezcal are nearly the same thing, but not quite. They’re both spirits derived from roasting and fermenting agave (called maguey in Oaxaca), but tequila can only be produced with “blue” agave whereas eleven different types of maguey can be used for making mezcal.
How different do they taste? Well, you’ll just have to have a sip to find out!
Los Cántaros Mezcalería in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca
While you’ll find plenty of mezcal shops on the Adoquín or along Zicatela Beach that offer free tastings (degustación in Spanish), the best place by far in Puerto Escondido to try mezcal is at Los Cántaros Mezcalería just outside of town off Highway 200 on your way to Huatulco.
The beauty of Los Cántaros is that the mezcal is made right there on site, and unlike the other shops that only offer samples of “factory” style mezcal, at Los Cántaros you can also try mezcal artesano, which I’ll explain here in a minute.
Getting there is super easy. It’s literally just outside of town over the bridge past La Barra. Hop in a taxi and it will cost you next to nothing.
(If you’re staying with us at Gecko Rock we’ll arrange to stop by in the shuttle one afternoon on the way back to the resort from town.)
Let’s start off with the hard stuff.
There are a few different types of mezcal that you’ll get to taste at no charge. First is mezcal artesano and what makes the artisan version different is that it is distilled in traditional clay pots as opposed to copper bowls.
The flavor of artisan mezcal is quite a bit smoother, but it costs about 50% more to purchase a bottle since that’s the same percentage of final product that’s lost during the distillation process due to the holla de barro, or clay pot.
Next you’ll try mezcal tradicional, which is essentially the same as artisan except that it’s distilled in the copper bowl. Both mezcal artesano and mezcal tradicional have no additional flavors added during the production process.
Finally, you’ll have the option to try a selection of mezcal tradicional that’s been infused with different flavors. You can taste as many (or as few) as you feel up to!
Cremas for the non-mezcal drinkers in your group.
Not everyone’s cut out for gourd after gourd of 80 proof mezcal! Luckily Los Cántaros makes a broad range of cremas that are super smooth and come in tasty flavors like melon, coffee, cappuccino, strawberry, passion fruit, pistachio and coconut.
Even if you’re not a big-time booze hound, a visit to Los Cántaros Mezcalería is a really cool cultural experience and one of the top activities mentioned by our guests when they look back upon their stay with us in paradise.