Travel + Leisure Is Taking You on a Tour of Oaxaca's Most Iconic Mezcal Distillery — and Wait Till You See the Spirit's Secret Ingredient

A sneak peek at a Oaxacan delicacy.

Omar Alonso and Lalo chopping fruit to make mezcal in their episode of Walk With T+L

Sure, you may have enjoyed a shot or two of mezcal at a bar, Mexican restaurant, or even on a trip to Mexico. But how much do you really know about this smoky spirit? The agave-based alcohol is produced primarily in the Mexican state of Oaxaca and depending on who's making it, ingredients may include anything from pineapple to raw chicken breast.

In this episode of Walk With T+L, Oaxacking tour guide Omar Alonso takes viewers to the Palenque La Candelaria mezcal distillery outside Oaxaca City to learn how Mezcal de Pechuga (raw chicken mezcal mentioned) is made. Read on for more from Omar on this specially distilled drink, and then book a trip of your own where in addition to great Mezcal, foodies will discover a treasure trove of tasting menus during your seven-day trip.

Travel + Leisure: Why is Mezcal de Pechuga only produced once a year?

Omar: It is a celebration mezcal. In some areas of Oaxaca they produce it for a wedding, baptism, and so on, but [Lalocura Mezcal owner] Lalo only produces it to set it up at the altar for his family members that have passed, and to welcome them into their homes as they visit during Day of the Dead on November 1.

Omar Alonso and Lalo chopping fruit to make mezcal in their episode of Walk With T+L

How do the processes of making the distillery's different mezcals vary? Is the only difference that the other mezcals don't use a chicken breast?

Omar: The main difference is the ingredients in the recipes from each producer. There are also two main types of mezcal distillation — copper stills and clay pots.

Do all of the Oaxacking food tours give guests such a close look at how food and drinks are made or is this mezcal tour unique in that way?

Omar: No, some of them are very commercial and only show you the basic mezcal companies. If you want to dig deep into the mezcal world, you should definitely look for companies that offer this authentic type of experience.

Why do you encourage travelers to take this Mezcal tour?

Omar: Mezcal is a very important part of Mexican culture, and Oaxaca is the main producer in the world. Once you learn how it's made, and all of the processes, you will definitely enjoy it more and respect it as well. It'll change your perspective about Oaxaca for sure.

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