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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

Mezcal, the Pride of Oaxaca

Oaxaca, Mexico

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

Mezcal is the rustic cousin of tequila. Tequila can only be made from the blue agave plant, whereas mezcal is made from one of the other 150 species of agave native to Mexico.

When visiting the Mexican state of Oaxaca, one will find mezcal for sale just about everywhere. Free tasting stands are located all throughout town, and besides the regular bars, restaurants and cafes, you will also find mezcalerias.

Mezcalerias allow you to purchase copas of various brands of mezcal to see which ones you prefer.

Beautiful Oaxacena women offering tastes of mezcal

 

There are styles of mezcal made to please any palate. Here you see these women offering samples of a "cream" mezcal in flavors such as pina colada, cafe, nut, strawberry, coconut, jamaica, mocha and more.

Metal tray with ice and bottles of cream mezcal

These cream mezcals are a favorite of tourists who come to the city of Oaxaca. They are sweet, easy to sip and are in flavors of different fruits, nuts and cafes.

Close up of the tray of mezcal samples

Here you can easily see the different colors and flavors of the free offerings of mezcal available. These would be considered dessert mezcals, not what a serious connoisseur would necessarily enjoy.

Beautiful "Mezcal Lady"

Obviously, the favorite flavors of mezcals for tourists are the creamy styled flavors. If you look on the table at the left of the photo, you will see a bottle of the clear, smoky mezcal for which Oaxaca is also famous.

All mezcal gets its distinctive flavor during the production process. The pinas, or hearts of the agave plants are cooked in pits in the ground in the same way as one would do a pig roast. The pina is then crushed, combined with water and allowed to ferment.

A little like Bailey's Irish Cream

The identifiable characteristic of mezcal is still discernable through the flavorings of these "Fruticrem" products. Even though in samplings they are given to you cooled by ice, they are excellent poured over a glass of ice and sipped.

Oro de Oaxaca - Gold of Oaxaca

Stacked on the stairs on the left side in this photo is a local brand of Oaxaca mezcal, Oro de Oaxaca. On the right side is a mountain of the creams.

In the past, mezcal used to be called mezcal wine. So just as there are names of wines after the grapes that make them like Pinot Noir, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, in mezcal you have Madrecuixe, Tobala, Espadin, Largo, Cirial, Tripon, Barril - some 150 names!

Here you see a mezcal farmer or a Maestro Mezcalero

Most of the individual farmers have small operations for production. Unlike grapes which are harvested each year, sometimes farmers have to wait decades for their agave plants to mature. Large operations have fields and fields of agave at different ages so that their distilling process is not brought to a halt.

 

The bottle should say whether it was distilled in a clay or copper pot . Clay pots produce earthier mezcals, while copper makes for a smoother taste.

Mezcal is considered to be a craft spirit. You "kiss" mezcal, meaning you sip it, you don't shoot it down in a glass. Just as with fine tequila there is great respect for this beverage.

Prices range from $10USD for a bottle to upwards of $100USD. Served at room temperature in a wine glass to be able to enjoy the nose of the mezcal, it generally comes with a slice of orange, and a pinch of salt.

For more stories and photos of Oaxaca, click here

For more stories and photos of Mexico, click here

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About the Authors

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their popular website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurerís Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.

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