Mezcal 101

How Many Agave Varieties Can Be Used To Make Mezcal?

I always keep a running mental list of all the mezcals I taste and read about that are made with magueys other than the agave espadin (which accounts for about 90% of mezcal production).  For years, really the only one I would see beyond espadin, was the Del Maguey Tobala.

However, in the last few years, I have started to see other agave varieties pop up in mezcal such as madrecuixe and tepeztate.  But I keep hearing there are about 30 varieties of agave that can make mezcal, so first I started wondering where they all are hiding (perhaps with the Knicks offense?), and then I wanted to know precisely which agaves can be used to make mezcal. (more…)