Raicilla La Venenosa - Tabernas II Edicion

Raicilla La Venenosa - Tabernas II Edicion

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Raicilla is a distilled Mexican agave spirit with nuanced, vegetal flavors. Despite its centuries-old history, for many, raicilla remains shrouded in mystery. In part this is because of diversity within the category but also because of its repressed history until recently. Like Tequila & Mezcal, Raicilla is made from the agave plant. It is roasted like mezcal, not steamed like tequila. It hails from Jalisco, which lies outside the states in which official mezcal must be produced. As with Champagne in France, Mexico has a national system to classify locally made booze, called a Denominacion de Origen. Agave spirits made outside those recognized regions, such as raicilla, sotol, and bacanora, are not included. Unlike traditional, double-distilled mezcals, raicilla is typically single-distilled. Because Jalisco has the second-greatest biodiversity of agaves outside of Oaxaca, distillers use a range of plants in its production, such as Maximilliana. The epicenters of raicilla are on the coast south of Puerto Vallerta (“de la costa”), and in the Occidental Mountains (“de la sierras”). Some distillers use copper pots, which they call Asian stills, modeled after the copper vessels Filipino immigrants to coastal Jalisco used to distill coconuts. The spirit itself is ancient but has a delightfully insurgent post-colonial history. Once a humble beverage, primarily enjoyed by farmers, raicilla was taxed heavily after the Spanish conquest. Production moved underground. When tax collectors came to small villages, locals lied, saying the spirit they were making didn’t use the piña of agave like mezcal (it did); rather, it was from the “roots” of the agave (same thing). They gave their spirit the name raicillia, or “little root.”

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