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Holy Smoke! It's Mezcal!: A Complete Guide From Agave To Zapotec

Holy Smoke! It’s Mezcal! is being acclaimed by leading experts in the mezcal and spirits world: “An amazing accomplishment”, "For those of us that live and love mezcal, we finally have a book", “The best book on this beautiful artisan spirit”, and “A playful yet responsible thesis of the history, lore, and science that infuses every bottle”. Mezcal is finally being counted among the world’s leading beverages for its quality, complexity and authenticity. John McEvoy, the author of the outstanding blog Mezcal PhD (, pens his first book on this magical elixir. Holy Smoke! It’s Mezcal! is a passionate journey into everything you want to know about mezcal. Among other things, the author explores the history of mezcal and how it differs from tequila, the hand-crafted production process that has been handed down from generation to generation, the wide variety of agaves which are used to make mezcal and how each varietal can alter the flavor, all the mezcal brands found in the U.S., mezcal cocktails with over forty tasty recipes, and the differences between tequila, mezcal, pulque, bacanora, raicilla, sotol and more. Holy Smoke! is rich with photographs, diagrams, charts and details while maintaining a light-hearted and approachable tone throughout. Contributing to the polished style of the book is a top notch team including A-list food and spirits industry photographer Noah Fecks, renowned book designer Patty Fabricant, and former Associated Press editor Dave Ivey. Whether you are just becoming interested in this seductive spirit or are already a convert, this book is for you.

Paperback: 204 pages

Publisher: John McEvoy; 1 edition (June 10, 2014)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0990328104

ISBN-13: 978-0990328100

Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.5 x 9.2 inches

Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)

Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)

Best Sellers Rank: #118,552 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #105 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Beverages & Wine > Cocktails & Mixed Drinks #145 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Beverages & Wine > Wine & Spirits > Spirits

The Mezcal PhD (aptly named) nailed this one. REALLY comprehensive, passionate, and educational. It has pretty much everything you'd want to know: history, botany, sustainability, sources, reviews, and few rocking cocktail recipes. All in a really fun read with wonderful pictures too.I raise una jicara de tepeztate (nee, a whole flipping BOTTLE) to McEvoy and his great book!

If you are interested in understanding a bit more about your new liquor love, mezcal, then this is the book for you. I had gotten interested in mezcal after reading about it, had tried 4 or 5 types, but didn't know where to go afterwards to learn about the liquor and the variety within the field. This book popped up one day while doing a google search and I was so surprised at how well done it was. The book was wonderful facts and written in a very endearing. knowledgeable, and honest voice (I love the author's small quips here and there). The pictures are very well laid out and give you a much better perspective that I don't think one can find elsewhere.The cocktail section is great as well, all three cocktails I have tried have been wonderful and balanced, compared to the few I have tried from online recipes. The books information about the processes and varieties of mezcal is invaluable for a learning consumer of the drink. The brands available list is a very helpful tool for helping you to find the next bottle you might purchase!Definitely recommended!

Well, I must say this is a wonderfully informative and entertaining book. Having been to Oaxaca and seen first-hand where many of these seductive brands are born, raised and produced - I believe the author has perfectly captured the essence of what mezcal is all about. It is everything that tequila is not - and more - because its soul is as free as Mother Nature can make it. John has managed to take the reader through the history of mezcal on a personal tour of the senses that does not stop in Oaxaca. It continues on to your local bar or mezcalaría and into your living room. The list of cocktails is amazing - if not dangerous (YUM)! Buy this book and you will know almost everything you need to know about mezcal. The only thing left to do - is drink it. Salud!

Whether you are already a fan of mezcal, a true tequila lover, or a foodie-sustainability enthusiast, this book will interest you. John hooked me with the forward, an entertaining letter to tell tequila he is breaking up their relationship for a new love, Mezcal, and then proceeded answered every question I had about mezcal, as well as some I didn’t know I had. I even learned quite a bit about Tequila in between. In addition to the well written, humorous, very informative chapters, there are BEAUTIFUL photos (they would make great prints/posters!), and terrific recipes for mezcal cocktails (for those that don’t want it neat), a rating guide (a handy thing to take to the liquor store when shopping for this hard to find spirit - at least for those not in NYC), and so much more. I highly recommend buying this book! (I even bought a couple to share with others – a unique gift!)

As a mezcal brand owner, I can fully understand the complexity of writing about this very special and authentic spirit. It has taken me years to grasp the intricacy of the mezcal world and I believe the author has captured its essence remarkably. One of the main messages is that mezcal can't be dissected or pinpointed, but instead offers an endless array of tastes, smells, experiences and stories for all those who are untiringly curious. I believe a key chapter is number 10, "The Future of Mezcal," which discusses the main threats and hurdles this spirit and all those involved in its production and trade will confront in the following years. Definitely, food for thought. A must-read for all those who are intrigued by mezcal and are looking for the big picture.

Wow!!! Excellent book! Written in a clever style that makes you think that the author is sitting across from you with a jicara of fine mezcal. The Foreward is a scream -- a "Dear Tequila" letter! So good I have given dramatic readings of it to friends, along wth mezcal, of course. So far, have purchased two additional copies as gifts. Informative and enjoyable.

"Holy Smoke! It's Mezcal!" is a great resource for all things Mezcal. I read it over the course of 3 days and it perfectly lays out everything you want to know about Mezcal and then some. What Mezcal is, how its made and all of the issues surrounding the production of Mezcal are explained in easy to read and sometimes funny way. Really liked this book and I would highly recommend it.

I bought a book on mezcal maybe a year ago....and ended up throwing a hissy fit about it in my review. And, in my review I suggested that the authors of several well known and well received books on tequila should apply their skills to a book on mezcal. Well, that book is here. Finally. Thankfully. For those with a passing curiousity or those will a deep passion, this is the book you should buy. I've been to Oaxaca and been to several palenques. The author gets it right. Finally I now have something to show my friends. And for me an excellent reference source. Thank you, John.

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