Approximately 45 kilometers from Oaxaca is Santiago Matatlán. This town is considered the world capital of mezcal. To get there, take the federal highway 190 towards the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, pass Tlacolula de Matamoros and after 15 minutes prepare yourself to drink a good mezcal.
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Stories with tradition
The name of this town comes from the Nahuatl words “Matlatl”, which means network and “Tlan”, place, that is to say, “Place near networks”. The main economic activity here is the production of mezcal. You can stroll around the town to observe the process of cultivation, jima, cooking and grinding of maguey pineapples, before the fermentation and distillation of the agave.
The mezcal produced in Matatlán is the most prestigious in the country, it is on the menus of the best restaurants and at international events. The delivery of the Ariel and Guelaguetza awards are just some of the festivities that use mezcal as a distinctive Mexican feature.
Santiago Matatlán, variety and mezcal history
Matatlán’s mezcaleros teachers follow the standards that certify its commercialization. Each bottle must have at least 45 to 48 degrees of alcohol. However, there are varieties of mezcal with 60 degrees of alcohol.
Mezcal agave espadín is one of the most typical in the region. However, in Matatlán there are different varieties among which the tobalá or “Papalometl”, the cuishe, the tepexate and papalote stand out.
Each with characteristic flavors ranging from soft, honey notes to agaves with strong aromas and lasting intensity. Mezcal is also classified according to its production. There are some mezcal with 100% agave, but there is also another type that adds up to 20% of other ingredients.
One of the most famous mezcales (which add other ingredients) is the pechuga type. This has the peculiarity of including a turkey breast in the alembic during distillation.
You can also choose a mezcal according to its aging. White mezcal (stored for approximately two months); matured in glass (at least one year in glass containers); resting (between two months and one year); and the Añejo (at least one year in barrels of no more than 200 liters).
In Santiago Matatlán, in addition to mezcal you can enjoy its streets, chat with its inhabitants or admire the Temple of Santiago Apóstol, we are sure that you will not regret it.
With information from NSS Oaxaca
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