"... rashy ones have mezcal rubbed onto their skin; fussy ones have it massaged into their gums. 'Mezcal is a way to welcome you home,' Ruiz told me. 'It makes you cry, sing, dance, hug the neighbor you just met an hour ago—and then your soul rests.' If your eyes are burning, if you said something insincere, if you have a hangover the next day, you are drinking mezcal wrong. One enthusiast I met, a Colombian woman whose extreme version of a dining club involves hunting for the main course, told me, 'You must kiss the mezcal.' Besides the jícara [the dried hull of a fruit] the most popular vessel is a glass votive holder with a cross etched on the bottom. The first sip is mouthwash—harsh, disinfecting, functional. The second reveals the flavors. By the third, people are saying the word 'magic,' and it’s not that embarrassing. After another round, your mouth is fresh; your cheeks have turned to wax. You can sleep to the sound of fireworks—because it’s Tuesday in Oaxaca City—and wake up cheerful to unsynched church bells and crazed birds."
From "Mezcal Sunrise/Searching for the ultimate artisanal distillate" by Dana Goodyear in The New Yorker.
(Click through if only to see the excellent illustration by Bjorn Lie.)