Carved Jicaras - Mezcal Drinking Gourds
Despite it being the current hipster spirit of choice, I do love me some mezcal. It is, as ol' Guy Fieri would say, flavor country. Especially pechuga mezcal, which made me gag when I first heard of it, but subsequently tried as a tasting series - served in some carved jicaras like the ones you see here - and felt like I was Violet Beauregarde chewing the whole meal gum in Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. Minus the unfortunate blueberry dessert part.
You're confused? Me too. And maybe still a little drunk from all the mezcal I drank last night. Let me back up.
Pechuga mezcal is a style of the liquor that involves, traditionally, hanging a raw chicken breast inside the mezcal still during distillation. The heat and steam generated there cook the chicken, killing any bacteria to make the approach safe, while its fat and juices drip into the mezcal. The finished batch, full of chicken drippin's, is savory, complex, and surprisingly delicious. You can't really say it tastes like chicken, but you certainly get a meaty essence you'd never find anywhere else.
The pechuga mezcal tasting I tried also had one that used raw lamb instead of chicken, and one that was vegan, having hung a bunch of vegetables over the still.
The tasting's serving vessels were as unique as the mezcal itself. Jicaras, or mezcal drinking gourds, are made from the fruit of calabash trees. Their plant-based fibers make them porous, so they absorb some of the spirit they hold and, as Etsy shop Mezcal for Life says, "drink with you."
Mezcal for Life's set of 4 mezcal jicaras are hand-carved in Oaxaca, and come with base rings made from woven carrizo reed fiber to hold your gourds while you pour. And, I guess, if you for some decide to put your mezcal back down after the first sip.
The mezcal jicaras come in blue, black, and dark brown.