The difference between Mezcal and Tequila

Mezcal and tequila are two of the most popular spirits to come out of Mexico. While they are often mistaken for one another, they are actually two distinct spirits with different flavour profiles, production methods, and regulations. In this article, we will explore the differences between mezcal and tequila.

  1. Production methods: Tequila is made from the blue Weber agave plant, which is grown in only a few states in Mexico. The agave is harvested and the heart, or piña, is roasted in an oven before being mashed and distilled. Mezcal, on the other hand, can be made from any type of agave plant, which gives it a wider range of flavors. The piña is cooked in an underground pit oven lined with volcanic rock, which gives it a distinct smoky flavor.

  2. Region: Tequila is produced in the state of Jalisco and a few surrounding areas, while mezcal can be made in several states throughout Mexico, including Oaxaca, Durango, and Guerrero. The agave used to make mezcal is often grown in more mountainous regions, which can also impact the flavour.

  3. Flavour: Tequila is known for its smooth, crisp, and clean taste with hints of citrus, while mezcal has a more complex and robust flavor profile. The smoky flavour from the cooking process gives mezcal a distinct taste that is often described as earthy, vegetal, and slightly sweet.

  4. Alcohol content: Tequila is typically bottled at around 40% alcohol by volume (ABV), while mezcal can range from 40-55% ABV.

  5. Serving style: Tequila is often served in a shot glass with salt and lime, while mezcal is traditionally sipped neat or in a cocktail.

  6. Regulations: Tequila is heavily regulated by the Mexican government and can only be produced in specific regions using blue Weber agave. Mezcal, on the other hand, is less regulated and can be made from any type of agave plant.

In conclusion, while both mezcal and tequila are made from agave plants, they have distinct differences in their production methods, region, flavour, alcohol content, serving style, and regulations. Tequila is a smooth and crisp spirit with a citrusy flavour, while mezcal has a complex and robust flavour profile with a smoky undertone. Whether you prefer tequila shots or sipping on a mezcal cocktail, both spirits have their own unique characteristics that make them worth trying.