Mezcal FAQ

What is Mezcal?
What is the difference between Mezcal and Tequila?
Is the scorpion harmful or poisonous?
Can you really eat the scorpion?
Does the scorpion change the flavor of the Mezcal?
Why a scorpion in the mezcal?
What about the worm?
Where is Scorpion Mezcal® made?
What is an Agave?

What is Mezcal?
Mezcal (or Mescal) is like Tequilas' older brother, a Mexican spirit distilled from the agave plant. The agave is a succulent plant belonging to the amaryllis (or Lily) family. Mezcal is a sacred drink from Oaxaca, Mexico, reserved for special occasions, and has been in production for more than 400 years, making it the oldest indgenous distilled spirit in North America. Caballeros Inc. use only agave, water and firewood to produce their mezcal. It doesn't get more natural or any better.

Mezcal is a delight to the palate, and a pleasure for the already discerning tequila connoisseur, as well as an eye opener for the as yet uninitiated into the delights of sipping these high calibre drinks. It can exhibit the same complex subtleties as cognac. When drinking mezcal, try sipping a premium mezcal neat, slowly and gently, to enjoy the full flavors and aromas.

Mezcal also mixes very well with most tropical fruit juices. See our RECIPES page.

Good hand-rolled Cuban cigars go very well with our premium mezcals. Also recommended are Mexican cigars from San Andres Tuxtla, Veracruz, a region close in proximity, climate and soil types to that of Cuba.

What is the difference between Mezcal and Tequila?
Tequila is made from the Blue Agave plant which is typically grown in certain central Mexican provinces. Mezcal can be made from many types of Agave. Tequila only has to contain 51% agave while Mezcal must be made from 100% agave. "Tequila is a type of mezcal and its proper name is mezcal de Tequila." (see Beyond Tequila for more details)

Is the scorpion harmful or poisonous?
No, the scorpion is not harmful or poisonous. The stinger has been removed. In fact, this product has been FDA approved!

Can you really eat the scorpion?
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved our scorpions as being no more harmful than any other food product that can be consumed. We do not recommend eating the scorpion but if consumed please chew it up adequately before swallowing.

Why a scorpion in the mezcal?
Where did that idea come from? Well, the manufacturer and master distiller of Caballeros Inc., Douglas French, has been known to enjoy his mezcal from time to time. We can only assume that he had the crazy idea of putting a scorpion in his mezcal instead of the traditional worm when he started making mezcal in 1995. Doug says, "It's time to seperate the men from the boys. This kind of tough but smooth approach is part of our philosophy and we aim to deliver this excitement and finesse in the product itself. The Scorpion is a hit! The Mezcal speaks for itself."

What about the worm?
"WORMS ARE FOR WIMPS!". One of Scorpion Mezcal®'s distinguishing features is that our whole range of quality 100% agave distilled spirits come with a real scorpion! "A REAL SCORPION?". Yes, Mezcal with a Real Scorpion in the bottle and the Mezcal doesn't only taste GREAT, it makes a great novelty gift! What's more, for the Zodiac watchers out there, add a bottle to your collection or give a gift to a fellow Scorpio. Most mezcals have a worm and "the Guys" think that they are real macho eating the worm. Caballeros Inc. does not advocate eating the actual scorpion in the bottle but recommends that if you must eat it, to chew properly and adequately before swallowing.

Does the scorpion change the flavor of the Mezcal?
No, the full smooth flavor is retained and the scorpion imparts no flavor. The scorpion novelty is succesful for gift markets and creates immediate interest in the product.

Where is Scorpion Mezcal® made?
Caballeros Inc. is a company dedicated to producing and importing a comprehensive line of mezcals from Oaxaca. This production is all done in the village of San Agustin de las Juntas, Oaxaca, Mexico. They distill mezcal from the finest agave varieties in a small artisanal distillery (or palenque in Spanish) to make the best quality mezcal.

What is an Agave?
The Agave is a spiky-leafed member of the lily family. Related to the century plant, the agave is classsified in it's own category of Agavaceaeas, and therefore not a cactus. Cultivated on plantations for 10 years or more, mezcal can be made from many different types of agave, also known as maguey (pronounced muh-GAY). Some varieties of agave such as Tobala grow wild on the steep mountain slopes of the Sierra Madre Sur. When the plant reaches sexual maturity it starts to grow a flower stalk. The farmer cuts off the stalk just as it is starting to grow. This redirects the plant growth into the central stalk, swelling it into a large bulbous shape that contains a sweet juicy pulp. When the swelling is completed, the campesino cuts the plant from its roots and removes the long sword-shaped leaves, using a razor-sharp tool called a coa. The remaining piña (or pineapple, so-called because the cross-thatched denuded bulb resembles a giant green and white pineapple) weighs anywhere from 25 to 100 pounds.

James Michener wrote in his novel ‘Mexico’, “the maguey is a symbol of the Mexican spirit. They are like dancers with beautiful hands. They lend grace and dignity to the land and have always been the symbol of peace and construction. From their bruised leaves were made the paper upon which records were kept. Its dried leaves formed the thatch for homes, its fibers, the threads that made clothing possible. Its thorns were the pins and needles while its white roots provided the vegetables for sustenance”.
“And, its juice became the ‘honey’ ” from which Mezcal, Tequila and Sotol are distilled. The maguey, of the genus Agave, is aptly taken from the Greek meaning ‘noble’

 
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