At long last two of the best liquors in the world have been merged together to create a new super spirit. Mexican mezcals are being infused with a combination of indigenous Mexican ingredients and classic London Dry gin botanicals to make the world’s first mezcal gin.
While Mexicans have made their own version of gin for centuries—known as Pechuga, it’s made by infusing mezcals during distillation with nuts, fruits, botanicals, and either chicken or turkey meat (pechuga translates to breast)—mezcal gins substitute the traditional raw chicken or turkey breast with botanicals more commonly affiliated with gin (like juniper and cardamom).
While there are currently two producers making a mezcal gin hybrid—including aptly titled Mezcal Gin and Gracias A Dios Agave Gin—only one of the bottes is currently available in the United States.
Gracias A Dios Agave Gin, which was developed by students at Oaxaca State University, is an espadín agave mezcal infused with 32 different botanicals and spices (some of which are indigenous to Oaxaca or Mexico) including guaraná, passionfruit, eucalyptus, green tea, Bougainvillea ﬂowers, almonds and Mexican vanilla. The mezcal is made the traditional way, by roasting the agave piñas, crushing them with a tahona, and fermenting them with wild, indigenous yeast with the bagasso. The fermented liquid is then distilled and rested in stainless steel tanks with the botanicals.
Although the juniper comes through in the forefront of the spirit, there are also flavors not normally associated with gin and a strong presence of agave notes. In the glass, the spirit emits aromas of dill, roasted bell peppers, sage, wildflowers, fresh citrus and barbecued fruit. On the palate, there is a strong vegetal undercurrent from the mezcal, with a peppery hit at the finish. There are also notes of arugula, honeysuckle, melons, vanilla, orange pith, pink peppercorn and juniper.
You can drink mezcal gin straight—like you would a traditional mezcal—but this infused agave is also exceptional in cocktails. Use it like you would a gin or in traditional tequila or mezcal cocktails. It is absolutely exceptional in shaken drinks like a Bees Knees or stirred and strong classics like a Vesper. However you choose to drink the spirit, if you’re a fan of either gin or mezcal, you absolutely need to try these first bottles that marry the two.
Mezcal Gin is currently only available in Mexico and the U.K., but can be bought online from Master of Malt or The Whiskey Exchange if you’re willing to pay the exorbitant shipping cost.
Gracias A Dios is available in seven states currently, and online. It retails for $55 for a 750ml bottle.