Mezcal 101: The Modernization of Mexico’s Smoky Sip

“Mezcal has been produced here in Oaxaca for at least four hundred years,” Silvia Philion tells me from behind the bar at Mezcaloteca, one of the city’s most prominent mezcalerias. After several years marketing traditional mezcal in Mexico City, she and her partner founded the business five years ago as a way to connect mezcal lovers to traditional maestro mezcaleros – master mezcal makers – from various towns in the southern state.

While mezcal is developing a reputation for its complexity and richness, both in culture and flavor, it hasn’t always been this way.

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Photo by marcelahernandez