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October 11, 2007 6:49 AM

As the worm turns: Mezcal no longer rotgut, but fine brandy?

Centuries before anyone ever heard of a margarita machine, before tequila shots became a rite of passage and "with or without salt" entered the bartending lexicon, Mexicans were distilling the exotic fruit of the agave plant. They didn't call it tequila back then. They called it mezcal.

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