One of the highlights of our trip was mescal tasting. Mescal is like tequila, but is less of an industrial process and is made from other types of agave (Tequila is only from Blue Agave, and made in the state of Jalisco).
The type of Agave in Oaxaca is called Espadin
The agave "pinas"
A young Espadin agave
The oven where the pinas are baked to release the sugars. This is one of the main differences between mescal and tequila. In tequila the sugars are processed chemically.
After the pinas are baked, the pulp is ground. The grinder is turned by a horse/burro.
Fermenting agave pulp. Smelled as awful as it looked...
The still. Alcohol comes out of the small pipe on the bottom left.
Salud! We actually didn't care much for the mescal from here..but we bought some anyway.
We found an AWESOME hole-in-the-wall mescaleria in Oaxaca. One of our favorite types was "pechuga" - literally distilled with a turkey/chichen breast (pechuga de pavo). Our absolute favorite was Tobala, a blanco mescal with a very smoky, smooth flavor. We bought 3 liters for about $15 - wish we had bought more!!