“How would you like that cooked?” is a question more normally associated with a steak than a glass of mezcal. But when it comes to Mezcal de Pachuga perhaps that should change. You see, pachuga mezcal is mezcal distilled along with a piece of raw meat. Most typically chicken – pachuga is Spanish for breast – it’s also prepared using other meats including venison, rabbit and iberico ham.
To create mezcal de pachuga, a variety fruits, spices and nuts – typically representing a family formula passed down through generations – are added prior to a third distillation, for which a protein is suspended above the still, where it releases its juices into the distillate, cooking in the rising steam.
Pachuga’s are typically very small batch productions and consumed on holidays and special occasions. But what about the taste? While many pachugas do display what is described as a mild gaminess, it’s more about the rich, robust mouth feel created by the collagen released from the protein during distillation. The savory notes are intended to balance the sweetness of the fruit and grains which otherwise would overwhelm the flavor. While there are several pechugas available in the US, as you can imagine a bottle this exotic will set you back over $100. For a smaller more affordable taste, visit Sergio Martinez at his restaurant Maestro in Old Pasadena, and taste one and any other of the more than 100 tequila’s and mescals Maestro has on offer.