Mescal is an alcoholic drink distilled from the maguey agave plant. It is similar to tequila (itself a type of mescal made from the blue agave) but with a stronger, more smoky flavour.
It is traditionally made by extracting the hearts or piñas from the plants, which are then cooked for about three days in a pit oven (earthen mounds over pits of hot rocks). This underground roasting gives mescal its intense and distinctive smoky flavour. The piñas are then crushed and mashed and then left to ferment in large vats or barrels with water added.