elaboration of mezcal

Labrado

To know the maguey to know if it is already mature is to know a life, not all the magueyes serve to make Mezcal, it is necessary to let them mature for 14 years.

The mature magueyes are known as seasonings because they begin to leave their floral axis known as quiote (calehual in other states) which is cut to obtain a maguey layer that is left to rest for a period of six months to two years .

The carving is done by removing the stalks, which is done with the sharp-pointed instrument that in Guerrero is shaped like a half-moon, in some communities the machete is still used for this work.

After carving the heads are cut into halves or paddocks to facilitate their transfer by means of beasts to the factory.

Baking / Cooking

The baking or cooking is done in conical furnaces dug in earth, which are usually located near the factory and have dimensions of 2 meters deep by three of diameter.

In the background wood is preferably placed in oak, the wood found in the localities, it is set on fire after carefully arranging it and waiting for it to reach a maximum point of sustained heat. On the firewood and embers stones are thrown and when they are put to the live one it is begun to put on her the heads of maguey divided until filling the furnace. It is immediately wrapped with green leaves of sollate palm and covered with earth in such a way that there is no place where the fire breathes which would cause the maguey heads to burn. This process is known as oven capping.

Beating / Grinding

The divided and cooked heads are mostly shredded by the use of a canoe (a wooden cavity similar to a canoe) where the pieces are placed and martajado with a male that is a wooden hammer.

Fermentation

In vats made with woods of the region that have a truncated cone shape with a height and diameter of one meter and twenty centimeters, the ixtle or must is placed and pressed. Preferably warm water is added to help with the process so it continues to fill the tubs, the proportion of must and water is known as formulation something that is still done empirically but with the learning of the years and the experience of every master mezcalero or manufacturers.

Fermentation is the stage that represents the greatest complexity for mezcal teachers, since external factors such as the climate and the ambient temperature of each region, as well as the water quality, intervene.

We wait for the right moment in which the yeasts appear and begin to transform the sugars into alcohol to pass to the distillate of this fermented.

Distillation

The must is emptied into a container that is usually copper, the pot is heated with endemic woods of the area is generally used oak since it has the property of maintaining the temperature for a long time.

When the broth begins to boil the vapors ascend to the top or turban, from there they travel by a serpentine or snake, which is also copper, which is submerged in water tanks, sometimes it is cold current.

The condensed mezcal comes out warm from the lower end of the coil and is received in plastic barrels.

The broth is distilled twice. The mezcal of the first distillation is called simple or ordinary since it reaches an alcohol content of less than 40º. In a second distillation the mezcal enhances its organoleptic characteristics which manifest themselves in a sweet and moist flavors. The first condensed vapors are known as tips and are the ones with the highest alcohol content, above 70º, of mezcal for its high content of methanol, this portion is eliminated or offered to the friend or old man who was the evil spirit that He expresses his pleasure by making a strong flash come out of the oven.

The middle part of the distillation called means or body is the mezcal that we offer, a distillate with a consistent degree of alcohol that according to the production is between 45º and 55º of alcohol.

The recipe of the Mezcales of Casa León Rojo is traditional not only because it uses the typical utensils of the region but because it does not use the typical copper still for distillation, in many communities the clay pot is used and a penne of maguey is put to guide the mezcal out.