The Best Storage Method To Preserve Mezcal's Vibrant Flavor

If you've been drinking more mezcal lately, you're not alone. The agave-based spirit saw a 53% spike among American consumers last year, reports The Hustle. With many gravitating towards this type of liquor, learning how to best preserve mezcal's vibrancy is a must. Whether you're a fan of slowly sipping the spirit or prefer it in a cocktail, here's what you need to know about keeping that bottle of mezcal as vibrant as the day that you first brought it home.

First of all, what is mezcal? According to Mezcalistas, any spirit made from the juice of an agave plant can be classified as mezcal, meaning that tequila (made strictly from the Weber blue agave) can be classified as a type of mezcal. That said, what makes mezcal particularly unique is that before undergoing processes like mashing, fermentation, and distillation, agave is roasted — this is what gives the liquor its distinctly hazy and earthy flavor. However, not all mezcal has the same smoky intensity. VinePair shares that some varieties can display less toastiness in favor of fruitier or more floral nuances.

Given that good quality mezcal can be pretty complex, it's a spirit that should be sipped. Though there is a range of mezcals available on the market, Mezcal for Life warns not to fall prey to worm-laced bottles as this marketing gimmick often denotes lower quality. Once you've settled on a bottle, the next big feat is making sure that the mezcal stays flavourful for as long as possible.

Away from heat and sunlight, bottles of mezcal will stay fresher for longer

Unlike wine, beer, or even liqueurs, distilled spirits tend to have a much longer shelf life due to their higher alcohol content. Likewise, unlike other tipples, distilled spirits also don't need to be refrigerated. As a matter of fact, actually advises keeping liquor at room temperature, within a 55 degrees Fahrenheit to 60 degrees Fahrenheit range. But, is this still the case when it comes to storing mezcal?

While an unopened bottle of mezcal can last indefinitely, oxidation will undoubtedly pose a risk once a bottle has been opened. Despite that mezcal can boast up to 55% ABV, which can extend its life span, Mezcal Rosa Luna shares that the spirit's profile will likely begin changing after a year of being opened, resulting in varied color, aroma, and — most importantly — flavor. To prevent premature decline, proper storage is a must.

Along with keeping an opened bottle of mezcal in a dry, dark, and cool place, the Cocktail Society also recommends storing bottles away from direct heat and sunlight. Moreover, you can keep tequila inside its original bottle, making sure to close the bottle tightly after pouring. Still, some other viable vessels also include clay or ceramic bottles, which Mezcalería explains is the traditional way of storing mezcal. Then again, with so many inventive ways to enjoy mezcal, you might not need to worry about leftover liquor, after all!