We Found Mezcal at La Taverna!
So, we did something quite exciting this week. We tried the exoticness that is the Mezcal! Coincidentally, it’s currently London Mezcal Week so we had to give into popular culture and peer pressure, shall we?
Now, I did some research on the rare spirit that’s often mistaken as a type of tequila due to it’s agave-ness. Unlike tequila that’s distilled particularly from the blue agave plant, mezcal is made from any variant of agave.
In other words, it’s a whore in a bottle as any agave can have its way, and guess who didn’t mind?
Tequila typically containing about 40% to 60% agave has no place next to mezcal which upholds 100% agave. (there’s a picture of the bottle that has 100% agave on it lol)
La Taverna is the only bar in Lagos that stocks, thanks for the hookup Nosa! After several dead-ends with waiters who got confused anytime we mentioned the spirit, we got fed up and asked to speak to the owner/head chef. I remember his thrilled facial expression when we asked for the drink. He had a smirk like a spy who had been discovered by his cohorts and went on to warn us that mezcal was not a brand of tequila so to tread carefully.
In his words: “you don’t take this as gulps, please please kiss the glass, no rush!”. To think that he gave us the restaurant’s last shot, accompanied with heavy advice seemed like he handed us a whole bottle and that was a little scary.
The spirit is usually referred ‘oven baked agave’ due to its smokiness although for production it is branded a distillable fermented mash. It is made majorly in Oaxaca, Mexico and there’s a popular local saying about the drink, “Para todo mal, mezcal, y para todo biem, también”
In English: “for everything bad, mezcal, and for everything good as well.”
I love drinks that are heavily concentrated as I’d like to think smaller liquor will, of course, cause no harm. We succumbed to the owner’s advice and split our shot in half so we could find our way home, it was a weekday after all. On the first kiss, the spirit gave off intense spiciness and smoke – the type of smoke that doesn’t burn.
It was so clean, smooth and easy on the throat and my partner, Folarin, concurs.
“It’s Mexican, of course it’s spicy. It’s a lot like methylated spirit – the smell almost chokes you but has a cooling sensation right after. The sharpness stings your lip as your throat anticipates the spice but it never gets there.”
We went further to formulate random ways to understand the drink:
We also think it’s an appetizer drink, like martinis and dry cocktails, because Folarin wanted to eat an entire cow after fondling with the mezcal.
It’s hilarious our first drink – a sangria is coming under our last drink but then it’s a sangria lol. I have never understood combining wine and fruit juice and maybe I still don’t but I liked this one. My friend, Nneka assured me that La Taverna has the best sangrias and I have to agree because it wasn’t as random as a low budget punch, the wine complimented this particular fruit juice and created something reviving for a hard day of work.
We absolutely loved the music here and La Taverna should be protected at all costs because they have Mezcal!
(Well, ‘had’ since it’s finished now)
A drink as complex as this one requires a seasoned and experienced mixologist to create a cocktail that lives up to the spirit, which is why they haven’t explored this path as it will require huge amounts and cause chaos.
Christina is a TV and Film junkie who also spends an incredible amount of time reviewing skincare products she can barely afford.