Written by
The Drink Chef

Mezcal vs. Tequila

Published on
August 8, 2022

Tequila and mezcal are often consumed neat by connoisseurs and have centuries-old hand-crafting traditions. Each has complex flavor profiles affected by elements, including age, locality, and production procedure. The main aspects of this topic are given below.

What Makes Mezcal Different from Tequila?

The primary distinction is that whereas tequila may only be produced out of the Blue Weber kind of agave, mezcal can be created from 50 other agave species—either blended into more of an ensemble or processed independently. Tequila is merely a legal designation for one type of mezcal.

The harvested (pia), or the center of the agave plant, is used to make tequila and mezcal. The parallels in manufacture stop there, though. The agave is often steamed in big manufacturing ovens before being distilled twice or thrice using copper pots to create tequila.

Contrarily, mezcal gets cooked in earthenware pits studded with rocks of lava and stuffed with fuel wood before purifying in clay pots. While other mezcal companies that produce on large scale have embraced contemporary techniques, traditional mezcal producers employ this older technique, which may be the origins of the smokiness frequently involved with mezcal.

However, the two spirits' many age categories are defined significantly differently. For instance, there are three types of tequila: Anejo, reposado, and Blanco (silver or plato/0–2 months) (1-3 years). Additionally, mezcal is divided into three age ranges: Joven (Blanco or abacado/0-2 months), reposado (2-twelve months), and Anejo (at least one year).

What Similarities Are There?

Although tequila would be a mezcal as well, as mezcal does not become tequila, there are many links between the two beverages. Both beverages come out of agave plants, whereas only Blue Agave and Weber Agave are used to make tequila. But from the other hand, 28 distinct varieties of agave are used to produce mezcal across Mexico. Like Scotch is smokier than whiskey, mezcal has a smokier flavor than tequila.

The two beverages also go through separate conventional distillation processes. Traditional tequilas such as 88, 1921, and Luna Nueva the agave plant is first steamed in ovens to generate tequila, which is then several times distilled in pots made of copper. Mezcal passes through distillation process within clay pots after it has being heated. These earthen pots are coated with rocks of lava loaded with wood and charcoal.

Even though both liquors are kept in oak barrels, their classifications vary depending on how old they are. Three types of tequila are available: Blanco (silver/Plato) - 2 to 12 months, reposado - 12 to 24 months, and Anejo - 1 to 3 years. Mezcal is divided into three categories: Joven (Blanco/avocado) - 2 months or less, reposado - 12 months or more, and enjoy - more than one year.

What Types of Cocktails Can I Create with Mezcal?

Here are a few of our favorite ways to include mezcal into our cocktail mix this season, ranging from daring variations on citrus drinks to full, spirits-forward versions of classic Manhattans and Old Fashioneds.

  1. The Mango Margarita

Ingredients

  • Cointreau, 1 oz
  • Mezcal, 2 oz.
  • 1 oz of lime juice.
  • mango juice, 1 oz

Instructions

Add 1-2 pinches of black pepper and the remaining ingredients to the shake. Shake in ice addition. Pour a fine strain above ice into a rock glass with salt. Add a lime wheel or grapefruit frond as garnish.

  • Tiger Lily

Ingredients

  • Ojo de Tigre Mezcal, 1.5 oz.
  • pineapple juice, 1.5 oz
  • Ginger beer, 2 oz

Instructions

In a mixed drink or drinks glass over ice, combine all elements. Slice of pineapple as a garnish.

  • Mezcal Manhattan

Ingredients

  • Mezcal Doa Vega Espadn, 2 oz.
  • Sweet vermouth, 1 oz
  • 3 shoots Bitters of Angostura

Instructions

In a shaker, combine all the ingredients with the ice. After 15 revolutions of stirring, pour into the preferred glass. Available (up) or (on the rocks). Add a brandied cherry, sour cherry, raspberry, or burnt orange peel as a garnish.

  • Smokin' Margarita

Ingredients

  • 2 oz. of white avion.
  • Buenbicho Mezcal, 5 oz.
  • Lime juice, 75 oz.
  • Agave nectar, 5 grams

Instructions

In a mixing glass with a salt rim, blend all components over ice, Mix, and pour over new ice.

  • The Smoke Show

Ingredients

  • Casamigos Mezcal, 1 oz.
  • Casamigos Blanco Tequila, 75 oz.
  • Ancho Reyes, 75 oz.
  • 1 oz of lime juice
  • Agave nectar, serving

Instructions

All components should be combined in a tin shaker. The ice. For 8 to 10 seconds, shake erratically. A coupe glass with a fine strain. Use a skewer to add a lime wheel as a garnish.

Where Is Mezcal Produced?

Frequently, mezcal is made in a rather picturesque manner. To give the agave that particular smoky flavor, it is first slowly roasted (as opposed to tequila, which is often cooked in ovens) frequently in a trench in the ground. Weekly basis, a small workforce at Casa Silencio in Oaxaca, at which El Silencio mezcal would be produced, stack large numbers of pias (the plant's heart) into an underground crevice resembling a quarry. The pit would be boiled to elevated temperatures and surrounded by huge rock formations to maintain the natural basement range.

Only the provinces of Oaxaca, Merida, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosi, Guerrero, Veracruz, Guanajuato, Mexico, and Michoacán are permitted to produce mezcal. Mezcal is special due to its wide range of flavors. The notes are impacted by various agave plants, production techniques, and provenance, a term usually associated with wine that describes how the makeup of the land regulates a grape's character.

What Are Some Top Mezcals That I Can Buy?

The hotter, smokier cousin of tequila is mezcal. What are some of the top mezcal varieties available for online purchase, ranging from tried-and-true producers of easy-to-sip products to luxury bottles deserving of a spot on the shelf beside your pricey bourbon or Scotch?

  1. Chichicapa Mezcal

This soft and vegetal mezcal is produced by renowned manufacturer Del Maguey, established by artist Ron Cooper. It is named for the sole settlement where it was created, located at around 6,000 feet above the water. 20 years ago.

  • Clase Azul Mezcal Guerrero

To showcase the terroir of the Mexican province, the newest member of the Clase Azul family is crafted from the uncommon papalote agave.

  • Joven Mezcal

With its lower price, Montelobos's award-winning Joven is appropriate for combining cocktails since it finds a balance between smooth and smokey.

  • Spanish

Doa Vega, one of the smallest mezcal major brands, has already received praise since its 2019 premiere.

  • Nuestra Soledad Santa Maria Zoquitlán

Valentin, Rolando, and Asis Cortés have produced a line of mezcals during which you can sense the terroir, according to Mix. They achieve this by obtaining Espadn agave at palenques in villages around the Valles Centrales of his home country of Oaxaca.

Finish with something like this –

Mezcal has an uncommon taste. If you enjoy the smokiness, mezcal is a guarantee to have a good time.

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