These are some of the questions that may have crossed your mind as you order a tequila or Mezcal shot.
What’s the difference between Mezcal and Tequila? Are they both made from agave? Do you use them differently, and do they taste different from one another?
Prepare to have your mind blown because we are about to broaden your horizons by introducing you to the lesser-known and incredibly delicious Mexican spirit, Mezcal.
All tequilas are mezcal. But all Mezcals are not Tequila. Tequila is traditionally from the town of Tequila and is made with 100% blue agave. There are now five Mexican states where Tequila can be produced, I am sure this really fills the people of Tequila with all kinds of joy that so many other people are benefiting from their ancestors hard work. The agave used in Tequila is always steamed, the best producers of Mezcal roast the agave. This gives it a much different flavor than the steamed Agave in Tequila. Please beware that Mezcal is a catch-all word for any liquor made from the agave, and can be quite ghastly, if you visited Mexico- I am sure you remmber the cheap Mezcal that has the worm in the bottles!
Both Tequila and Mezcal are distilled from agave plants, but tequila only uses blue agave. Mezcal involves underground roasting, something that gives it a distinctive, smoky flavor. Like craft spirits? Mezcal is traditionally made by small-scale producers and there are over 9,000 producers and more than 150 brands.
Now you’re probably wondering why you haven’t heard of it before, if it’s so delicious and wonderful… The unique smoky flavor (one of the characteristics that we love about it) isn’t for everybody. And the fact that it is so hyper local, with tons of small brands, and not one brand monopolizing the market, makes it tough to advertise and get the word out.
About 200 bottles of tequila are produced in Mexico for every bottle of Mezcal, but Mezcal is slowly gaining popularity. We’re not sure it’s ever going to beat out tequila, but we recommend it to people who like to try new things.
Mezcal’s audience is small, but we still hold a large selection of them here at our store because of this niche spirit. Some of the bars in LA are now serving Mezcal virgin, it’s better to order a shot so that you get an idea of the flavor. It can be a little tricky to concoct a mixed drink that works with the distinctive smoky taste.
Here is a link to some of our Mezcal selection:
What do you think of Mezcal, and how do you drink it?