It says much about the current state of agave-spirit power rankings that Condesa carries far more mezcals than tequilas. I’ll always love the elegance of a great tequila (technically a specific kind of mezcal) made from pure blue agave. But the world has awoken to the stunning variety of traditionally handmade mezcals, which can be made from 30 or so varieties of agave, among other ingredients, often with ancient methods and enough pit smoke to rival any Islay malt.
Condesa divides its list of 25 into six different subspecies of agave, each with a range of interpretations. Among the most intriguing categories is pechuga, a pricey celebration style of mezcal redistilled with fruits, nuts, and a raw poultry breast (“pechuga” in Spanish) dangling in the vapors to infuse that spirit with bird essence.
I can’t say I quite tasted Thanksgiving in the shot of El Jolgorio pechuga made from semi-wild espadín agave and a turkey breast on a clay still by Valentine Cortez and Gregorio Martinez in Oaxaca. But there was definitely a uniquely meaty, savory quality to the powerfully mouth-coating brew. This drink’s appeal, though, is in the feast of other flavors that appeared in its vapor plume, especially fruits like pineapple and orange that rose, then disappeared in a puff of liquid smoke.