The Craft Gin Club has left drizzly London behind this week to bring its juniper juice to sunny Mexico where the dominant spirit is not seed cone-based but rather comes from the agave plant. The logical first stop? A dedicated museum of course.
The Craft Gin Club is in Mexico this week so instead of gin we're tasting tequila and mezcal. After we've sipped our fair share we're writing articles about the Mexican Moonshine in our Trading Gin for Tequila series!
The Museo del Tequila y el Mezcal in Mexico City’s Plaza Garibaldi houses the history of the two agave spirits as well as a stellar selection. Walking through the mariachi bands in the Plaza, you arrive at a welcoming bar where the bartender will guide you through an explanation of the licores, how they are made and how they evolved through time. Whether your on a tequila trip or a mezcal mission, the bar and the adjacent gift shop have you covered. They have hundreds of bottles of the approximately 800 brands of tequila and 600 of mezcal that the museum has counted.
After an introductory nip at the bar, head around the corner and buy a ticket to the museum (50 pesos or about £2.30) to deepen your enjoyment. The museum spans the length of the building’s first floor and explains the ins and outs of the drinks. You’ll learn how the spirits originate from a mixture of the agave know-how of indigenous peoples and the distillation processes brought over by the Spanish at the time of the Conquistadores, how tequila was originally called “mezcal wine from the village of Tequila”, and how native Mexican tribes began distilling maguey, another common name for the agave americana species.
When you’ve satisfied your thirst for drinks history, turn the corner and walk through the hallway dedicated to the history of mariachi, the native bands that have been busking in the square for almost a century. The mariachi hall brings you to the stairs that lead to the rooftop terrace bar and restaurant where you can look down on the bands in Plaza Garibaldi entertaining restaurant patrons and passersby.
A little pleasant surprise awaits you: when you paid your 50 pesos, it gives you the right to a tasting, one shot each of tequila and mezcal. The tequila, Dorado de Bajio, isn’t spectacular but the mezcal is something to remember. The spirit is mezcal de pechuga, meaning it has been triple-distilled with a chicken breast!
Since we’re in Mexico this week enjoying the lovely locals and the delicious food, we’ll write a few articles about tequila and mezcal. Stay tuned and salud!