‘Mezcal de pechuga’ is a special mezcal usually made upon request and is traditionally reserved and consumed in Mexico for special celebrations like weddings, births, and holidays.
The Pechuga you may have tried (or certainly should) is the product of generations of mezcal makers experimenting with recipes to create a treat for special occasions mentioned earlier but mainly for the end of the year festivities like Day of the Dead and New Year’s Eve.
‘Mezcal de pechuga’ literally translates to ‘Mezcal of the breast’ hinting to an element of its recipe.
As we’ve mentioned in our previous diary entries, most mezcals are distilled twice. Pechugas are normally distilled a third time to add the “magic touches” of local fruits, grains, nuts, and… a raw chicken or turkey breast—usually leftovers from the altars after Day of the Dead.
Your typical Pechuga will have chilacayote, almonds, apples, bananas, pineapple, citrus, raisin and a meat protein with chicken and turkey breasts being the most common one, however, we’ve come across deer, rabbit, iguanas and other meats.
Mezcal is the only spirit that has a style produced using the “pechuga” process making it one of the most unique spirits in the world. This process softens and smooths mezcal without taking away the explosion of flavors of the animals and the fruits captured by the steam during the third distillation. Look out for the notes of fruits, spices and honey.
Aside from the direct reference to the breast in the name, in the local folklore this name sometimes is also interpreted as “Mezcal from the heart” due to its origins and the purpose, mezcal that feels good in the chest.
While pechuga mezcal brands have increased in numbers over the years, they are still in limited supply. So next time you come across this treat, enjoy it neat.