Though mezcal has been on our radar for years, there's been a recent upsurge in interest for the liquor commonly confused with tequila. While both liquors are produced from the agave plant in Mexico, there are distinct differences between the two.
Read on for a quick and dirty break down on mezcal vs. tequila, to find out what mezcal actually is and a few drink recipes using mezcal to try, too!
Mezcal vs. Tequila: The Quick Guide
Both tequila and mezcal come from the agave plant, but they are made differently so they taste different, much the same way Whisky differs from Scotch and Bourbon.
Most mezcal is made today in the state of Oaxaca, while tequila usually comes from the northwestern state of Jalisco. Tequila is made only from blue agave. Mezcal, on the other hand, can be made from five different types of agave.
Tequila is double distilled and a few brands even distill it three times, whereas mezcal is often only distilled once.
What IS Mezcal?
But enough about technicalities! Let's get to the important stuff: what does it taste like?
Mezcal usually has a stronger flavor and is smokier than tequila. This is because when making mezcal, they bake the agave over charcoal. With both tequila and mezcal, the flavor varies greatly depending upon aging and other distillation differences, but generally tequila will be smoother and less harsh.
The flavor of tequila can be played down in a cocktail, whereas mezcal has a much stronger presence - you will know it's there! We love it because it adds a complex, smokey almost scotch-like flavor that goes great with a whole spectrum of cocktail ingredients.
But be warned! Mezcal is a catch-all word for any liquor made from the agave (aside from tequila), and can taste like hot lava being poured down your throat. It is cheap mezcal that has the worm in the bottle - avoid that at all costs!
Margaritas are one of our favorite drinks, and while they're they're typically known as THE mixed tequila drink, they're just as good when prepared with mezcal. Since it has a much more potent flavor, mezcal margaritas require a bit more finesse when mixing. Try serving up this watermelon version if you're a first time taster. Read More
We love the twist on this version of a Bloody Mary. It's a spicy Mexican version that's great for brunch or can be served at a summer barbecue with hearty meats. Either way your guests will enjoy this potent concoction! Read More