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Alright, let’s be honest here — Tequila gets about 90% of the press when we’re talking about Spirits from the southern hemisphere (well, that’s according to our completely unscientific research). And don’t get us wrong, it’s good stuff and definitely worthy of the hype.
The good news is that its Mexican counterpart, Mezcal, is starting to turn some heads. With good reason, too. This 400-year-old Spirit isn’t for the faint of heart — earthy, smokey and steeped in local folklore and history. After all, it was one of the first distilled Spirits in the Americas.
Over in Peru, it’s Pisco that reigns supreme. This fermented grape juice is technically considered a Brandy, and there are strict rules about aging it in wood barrels (basically, you can’t). It’s also the country’s official Spirit, and like wine, the flavor profile is all over the place depending on the brand.
In Bolivia, it’s all about Singani. Close kin to Pisco, it stands out for only using one grape: white Muscat of Alexandria. And it’s a completely homegrown Spirit — the grapes are grown and picked in Bolivia, and the Spirit is distilled, bottled and labeled in Bolivia. It’s the country’s oldest liquor and marries floral, fruity and spicy notes for a crazy unique flavor.
In this Tasting Box, you’ll be able to explore the Spirits of South America — beyond Tequila. Hell, you might even find a new favorite. Here’s your line up:
Alipus San Juan
Pisco Logia Acholado
And if you can’t be with the one you love, love the Spirit you’re with. Salud!
1. Bolivia has a rockin’ eco-system. In fact, 40% of all animal and plant life on the planet can be found there.
2. Most Bolivians drink Singani on the rocks with lime (or with ginger ale and lime), but the Spirit can sub in for Tequila in a wicked good Margarita.
3. One of the best ways to enjoy Pisco? A Pisco Sour, naturally. Peru’s even dedicated a national day to the popular cocktail — the first Saturday of every February is the official Día del Pisco Sour (Pisco Sour Day). National Pisco Day falls on the fourth Saturday of July.
4. There’s a contentious battle over who has the bragging rights to Pisco’s creation. Peru and Chile have fought over it for years, and the world is divided. While the U.S. is indifferent, the EU sides with Peru. That’s why when you drink Pisco in the EU, you can be absolutely sure that it hails from Peru.
5. Despite the country’s reputation for free-flowing resort booze and alcohol-fueled spring break shenanigans, Mexicans aren’t exactly drinking themselves under the table. The 128,000,000 people who live in Mexico drink an average of 6.5 liters of alcohol a year per person — that doesn’t even place them in the top 25 list of countries who drink.
6. Like it’s bubbly counterpart Champagne, only Spirits produced in one of eight specially designated states in Mexico get to be called Mezcal. The largest of these states? None other than Oaxaca.
7. Not all Mezcal is Tequila, but all Tequila is Mezcal. Mezcal is any alcohol made from agave, whereas Tequila can only be made from Weber’s blue agave.