Erstwhile Mezcal is thrilled to release the world’s first Five-Spice Duck Pechuga. This 500-liter batch is an experimental collaboration between Erstwhile and Epifania Gómez & Silverio García, our friends and long-time partner producers hailing from Rancho Blanco Güilá, Oaxaca.
Making mezcal at Palenque Don Lencho – Silverio & Epifania’s family distillery named in honor of Silverio’s father – is always a true team effort involving the whole extended family. This batch was no exception. Check out the videos and photos to see the making of Five-Spice Duck Pechuga in action!
This Five-Spice Duck Pechuga beautifully showcases the rich, complex flavors of five-spice powder, a classic ingredient used in Chinese and Asian cuisine: star anise, cinnamon, cloves, fennel seeds, and Szechuan peppercorns.
We’ve taken whole ducks that are locally raised in Rancho Blanco Güilá, and left the ducks in a five-spice marinade overnight for maximum flavor before suspending them in the stills.
Next, we added a generous cornucopia of fruits that were ripe and in season at the time of distillation, as well as herbs and spices commonly used in both Oaxacan and other rich culinary traditions.
Seasonal fruits used in this Five-Spice Duck Pechuga include: pineapples, mangos, nanches, plums, and plantains. We also added fresh herbs and spices: ginger, cloves, cinnamon, rosemary, bay leaf, basil, cloves, bay leaves, cilantro, thyme, and black pepper.
Pechuga, the Spanish word for “breast” (of chicken and other fowls), refers to a style of mezcal production where meat, fruits, and spices are used in the distillation process. Each producer has her own preferred ingredients, thereby yielding a rich diversity of flavor and texture.
Most mezcals are distilled at least twice. Pechuga mezcals often pass through a third distillation, purifying the spirit further.
In the case of our Five-Spice Duck Pechuga, the ducks were suspended inside the still – without touching the distillate at the bottom – during the third distillation. Fruits, herbs and spices were placed directly in the still during the third distillation. The steam from the boiling distillate was crucial, slowly “sweating” the duck and releasing its oils to blend with the fruits, herbs and spices.