Mezcal is among the most nuanced alcoholic beverages in the world. Thus, passionate mezcal enthusiasts know you shouldn’t drink it from any random piece of glassware if you want to fully appreciate the experience. To truly enjoy mezcal the way you’re meant to, you should choose a proper drinking vessel.
Consider the mezcal copita. For a number of reasons, it’s long been one of the most popular types of cups among mezcal fans. This guide will explain what a mezcal copita is, why it’s ideal for mezcal, and what specific types of mezcal copitas are available.
What is a Mezcal Copita?
Like many popular mezcal cups, the copita is fairly small. Although specific sizes can vary from one copita to another, usually, they’re about an inch tall, with a flat base that expands to a wide mouth.
This is another common feature among widely-used mezcal drinking vessels. Mezcal enthusiasts find that mezcal is best appreciated by slowly sipping a small amount (instead of taking a shot or drinking it in a cocktail whose ingredients will drown out the mezcal). Additionally, when a mezcal cup has a wide mouth, it allows the mezcal to “breathe,” and ensures the alcohol vapor won’t overwhelm someone when they take a sip.
A Myth About the Mezcal Copita
Some believe the mezcal copita is a traditional drinking vessel from Oaxaca, Mexico. That’s not actually the case. Ron Cooper, who helped popularize mezcal outside of Mexico, created it. Along with highlighting the nuances of mezcal, the mezcal copita is also convenient thanks to its portability.
Varieties of Mezcal Copitas
There are several different types of mezcal copitas. The following are just a few particularly noteworthy examples:
Black Clay Mezcal Copitas
Black clay mezcal copitas are popular because they give off a distinct subtle glow. On top of that, they’re often made specifically with black clay from Oaxaca, honoring mezcal’s origins.
Red Clay Mezcal Copitas
Red clay from Oaxaca is another common choice of material for mezcal copitas. Its natural appearance almost makes it resemble wood, reminding mezcal fans of another mezcal cup, the jicara.
Remember, the mezcal copita isn’t actually a traditional mezcal cup dating back centuries, so you don’t necessarily have to worry about breaking tradition by drinking from a copita made of a material other than clay. You can also enjoy mezcal from a glass copita.
What’s most important is that the vessel have a wide mouth, and be appropriately-sized for a small amount of mezcal. For example, Glencairn copitas, which some might use to appreciate fine whiskey, can also be the perfect type of glass for mezcal.
Speckled Ceramic Copitas
If you’d prefer a copita that isn’t just one flat color, you could instead opt for a speckled ceramic copita, featuring specks of black against a natural white background.
Some mezcal copitas almost resemble upside-down lampshades, with the edges extending out from base. Others look more like wide tires on their sides, with the edges curving back in from the middle.
Regardless of which type you’re drawn to, if you’re a fan of mezcal, you should certainly try drinking it from a copita at least once. You may find it entirely changes the way you appreciate this unique drink.