But it doesn’t stop there, pechuga Mezcals usually also contain fruits, nuts, herbs, spices, even rice. It mostly depends on what’s ripe in the area where the Mezcal is made and what’s traditional.
The variations to pechugas can range as far as the Mezcal maker’s creativity extends or wherever local traditions go. While turkey and chicken breasts are traditional so are pechugas made from rabbit or wild deer. We have even seen one made from iguana and recently Del Maguey collaborated with star chef Jose Andres on a Mezcal made with jamon iberico.
The origin of pechuga is lost in history. Some oral accounts say that it first appeared around Oaxaca in the 1930’s but it almost definitely dates back further than that, potentially way back because, while meat may be a strange addition to Mezcal, fruits and herbs aren’t.
Confused? Well don’t be, jump in and taste pechugas because they’re some of the more interesting spirits out there. The fruits and herbs in them can make the flavor fruity, tannic, spicy - sometimes the flavour of the rice even comes right through.
And, actually, there’s a subset of Mezcal aficionados who really don’t like the flavour that meat brings to Mezcal. Frequently they do like the flavour of fruit so there’s an entire subset which is vegan.
Recently savvy marketers have even labeled these bottles as Vegan Pechugas so Google that and you’ll be well on your way to trying something extraordinary. And, lest you think these are just for vegans, everyone should give them a try because they tend to be extraordinarily well crafted and bring out such diverse flavours.
Pechugas are so strange and rare that they’re the sort of thing that Mezcal makers really spend a lot of time thinking about, theorizing, and then creating. They’re still very small production and rare because they’re so strange and don’t have a huge audience.
All that means that pechugas are experimental outlets - frequently they’re the most dynamic expression of a Mezcal maker’s personality and creativity. Generally Mezcal makers will just create one or two a year and frequently these are their most special bottles reserved for special occasions and guests. Consider yourself lucky to have been invited to the party!