INTRODUCING SOUTH AFRICA’S TRADITIONAL MEZCAL-STYLE AGAVE SPIRIT
July 29, 2019
The 4th Rabbit – 100% KAROO AGAVE.
It’s needless to say we know our fair share about Wine, Whisky, Brandy, Cognac…and we’ve sure learned about Gin. There’s a less familiar category of Spirits, however, sparking intrigue among South Africans lately. Indigenous to Mexico, “Mezcal” – or rather, as legally known in South Africa, “100% Karoo Agave Spirit” – is Bold and Smokey in flavour.
So, what is, ‘Mezcal’? Mezcal and our dear old friend, ‘Tequila’, are both agave-based spirit drinks. If you are a Scotch whisky drinker, Mezcal is to Tequila what Malt whisky is to Blended Whisky. Mezcal producers are traditionally small batch producers, following very historic, long established methods of production to extract the bold and smokey flavours present in the final 4th Rabbit liquid.
True to Mexican authenticity, Agave plants used in The 4th Rabbit distillation are harvested by hand in the Karoo to extract the ‘piña’ or heart of the plant. In a traditional stone-lined pit, a fire is lit and left to burn out to heat the stones. The piñas, quartered, are then placed inside and covered with leaves and earth to slow cook for 7 – 12 days to extract the sugars. The cooked Agave is then fermented in wooden fermenting Vats (as opposed to stainless steel) leading to a more natural fermentation prior to small batch copper pot still distillation. These handcrafted traditional processes deliver The 4th Rabbit’s BOLD, SMOKEY, flavour.
Adi Badenhorst is a renowned Winemaker, Spirits Magician, and the man behind South Africa’s traditional Mezcal-style Agave Spirit. It is on his farm out in the Western Cape that “All Desert Magic & Mischief” transforms into, ‘The 4th Rabbit’.
Due to legality, The 4th Rabbit cannot officially be labelled a ‘Mezcal’ in South Africa, as it would have to be produced in Mexico. It is for this reason that The 4th Rabbit is classified ‘100% Karoo Agave Spirit’. Technically, however, The 4th Rabbit liquid is handcrafted the way traditional, authentic Mezcal is made in Mexico.
This handcrafted gem retails for around R495 and can be found in specialist retail outlets such as Barkeeper in Cape Town, Open Wine in Woodstock, Wine Village Hermanus, Craft Cartel in Johannesburg , Johnny’s Liquor in Pretoria, Select Norman Goodfellows outlets and online at Bottleshop.co.za. One can also find The 4th Rabbit hanging out at the coolest cocktail bars across Cape Town and Johannesburg.