You may be thinking “I know about Mezcal, there’s nothing weird there,” and normally we’d agree with you, but Del Maguey Pechuga Mezcal is a whole other story.
The origin of Pechuga is fairly benign. It begins with a standard Minero mezcal that has already been double distilled. Normal so far yes? Well here’s where it starts to get weird. The Pechuga production season is limited to year end due to some special ingredients: Wild mountain apples and plums that must be in season and cannot be substituted.
In preparation for a third distillation they place about 100 liters of mezcal in the still and add about 100 kilos of wild mountain apples and plums, big red plantain bananas, pineapples, a handful of almonds and a few pounds of uncooked white rice. All of these additions bring about a fruity and slightly oily quality to the mezcal that you won’t find anywhere else. But, that’s not even the weird part…
After the fruit, a whole raw bone in chicken breast, skin removed, is suspended by strings in the still for a full 24 hours to complete the third distillation. The vapors passes over the chicken and condenses into a crystal clear liquid that is entirely safe to drink. The reason for the breast they say, is so the mezcal is not dominated by the fruit. Upon completion the chicken is removed from the still and hung in the family Altar room.
Pechuga has a nose of basil, lemon, ocean, and fruit. It is almost scotch-like in its smoky taste. And yes, in addition it is salty, very soft, and tastes a wee bit like chicken.