My first experience with mezcal was drinking it out of mini-bottles as a teenager at the Red Onion restaurant in Los Angeles. Like many people, my first experience with mezcal was almost my last. Back in the day, mezcal was a shoddy product, cut with cheaper cane alcohol, and it was infamous for providing a brutal hangover. In recent years though, mezcal has dramatically increased its quality across the board, and stricter production regulations have turned this once-scorned alcohol into an artisan spirit full of complexity and depth. At the forefront of the movement to improve mezcal is master distiller and Scorpion Mezcal owner Doug French. This master of mezcal is pushing the boundaries of his category, creating a certified Master Mezcalier class and experimenting with different ages and varieties of agave to craft the most exciting mezcal coming out of Mexico.
Scorpion Mezcal features a real scorpion, hand harvested from the hills of Oaxaca in every bottle (don’t worry; they are safe to eat, and the stinger has been removed). With over 100 YouTube videos showing people eating the scorpion, the scorpion in the bottle has proven immensely popular, but it is the liquid inside the bottle that is the real cause for excitement.
All Scorpion Mezcals begin with hand-harvested pinas, the heart of the green agave. The pinas are then roasted and shredded to extract the juices of the pina. This juice is allowed to ferment before being double distilled and then aged. Unlike many mezcal producers, Scorpion is produced in a modern distillery, which allows for greater quality control and a more consistent product.
My favorite Scorpion Mezcal is usually the one I’m currently drinking, but if I had to choose one of the Scorpion line as a favorite, the reposado (meaning “rested” in Spanish) would probably win out. With a balance of agave notes and barrel character, Scorpion Reposado hits all the right notes. White pepper, vanilla, agave, and an intriguing herbal note make this mezcal a spirit to sip and to savor. Save the cheap stuff for doing shots; Scorpion Mezcal is the type of spirit that deserves appreciation.
I frequently get asked, “Does the scorpion impart any taste to the mezcal?” My personal answer is that I can’t detect any flavor from the scorpion. But it does look cool in the bottle, and it’s a conversation-starter like nothing else. Given its hordes of fans, Scorpion Mezcal is a brand on the way up. Pick up some today, and try the Scorpion for yourself to see what all the buzz is about.