Most of us are quite familiar with the smell and flavor of tequila. However, for those who like to dive deep in their Mexican spirit drinking game, mezcal might have won you over. For some of us, these agave spirits are very similar, yet there are several differences between tequila and mezcal that we need to go over. This way, we’ll know exactly which kind of spirit is the right for us.
First, we need to go over what exactly is mezcal and what falls into the mezcal category. This is because tequila is mezcal, but mezcal isn´t tequila. Then, we´ll go over what exactly counts as tequila, then. Learning the main differences between tequila and mezcal will let you appreciate each of these agave spirits better. It might also help you impress your friends with your alcohol knowledge next time you decide to order a shot of mezcal.
What Exactly Is Mezcal?
To begin with, we need to mention that tequila is a type of mezcal, but mezcal is not a type of tequila. This might sound a bit confusing, so we´ll get into detail. Mezcal is an alcoholic beverage that is made from many different types of agave plants. However, the vast majority of mezcals are made with espadin agave, which usually grows in the region of Oaxaca. Mezcal producers also use different traditional methods and one or more types of agave plants to create the spirit. Besides Oaxaca, there are mezcal producers from the states of Durango, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Michoacán, and Zacatecas.
What Is Tequila, Then?
Unlike mezcal, that can be made with many different kinds of agave plants, tequila must be made, by law, with Blue Weber or Tequilana Weber agave. Also, only the states of Jalisco, Nayarit, Tamaulipas, Michoacán, and Guanajuato are allowed to work in the production of tequila. In order for an agave spirit to qualify as a tequila, it must have 50% of agave. However, the best type of tequila is the one that is 100% agave spirit.
What Are the Main Differences Between Tequila and Mezcal?
The main differences between tequila and mezcal come from the production of the spirit, including type of agave plant and Mexican state where distillers produce them. Another difference between this spirit, which comes as a result of the aging process, is the taste. Tequila tends to have a sweeter taste, with a more citrus-forward touch. On the other hand, mezcal tends to come with a more vegetal and smoky character instead.
Another clear difference between mezcal and tequila is that there are many mezcal producers that like to add a worm inside the bottle. This is to add some additional flavor to the drink. Nevertheless, not every bottle of mezcal comes with a worm, and no tequila comes with it, either.