Tech Note: Distilling Mezcal from Wild Tobalá

Tasting a distillation run of wild agave tobalá coming off the Hoga still at the Los Danzantes distillery in Santiago Matatlan, outside Oaxaca City. No agave makes better mezcal than the small and wild tobalá: elegant, refined, beautifully flavored.

Tech Notes: Distilling with Agave Solids

After a first distillation run at Los Danzantes. Ernesto is pitchforking the solids out, cleaning the still for the next rum. Distilling the solids makes the mezcal richer, more complex, and gives it the characteristic vegetal overtones of artisan mezcal.

Tech Notes: Including Solids in Mezcal Distillation

Moving the milled agave solids to the still at Los Danzantes. Distilling with solids is more difficult (they want to cook to the inside of the still), but adding them makes the mezcal richer, more complex, and gives it the typical vegetal overtones of artisan mezcal. It’s a lot of work.

Tech Note: Putting the Top on a Potstill

Putting the top on a potstill at Los Danzantes after filling the still. This is exactly how any artisan mezcal distiller does it. What got cut off in the video is wrapping the connections with a strip of cloth, which goes back for centuries.

Tech Note: Organizing Fermentation at Los Danzantes

Distilería Los Daznates has set up a sophisticated system of rolling tanks so they can have several batches in sequential fermentation. It’s about how to be Mexico’s #1 artisan mezcal without sacrificing rigorous artisan methods.

Tech Note: Remixing Fermenting Agave

Remixing the solids down into the tina, the agave fermentation tank, at Los Danzantes. The solids tend to float to the top. Remixing enriches the fermentation, so you get more flavor & complexity. It’s like punching down the skins when you’re fermenting crushed grapes.