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Tequila vs Mezcal… What’s the Difference?

Lime, salt, tequila! We’re all familiar with the infamous Mexican spirit, but there's a relatively new kid on the block from Mexico that is becoming more and more popular: Mezcal. A lot of folks think that Mezcal is just a type of Tequila, but this isn’t quite correct. In fact, it’s the exact opposite… Tequila is a type of Mezcal. 

Mezcal is a broad term that describes any spirit produced with agave. It’s a bit like how Champagne is a type of Sparkling Wine made in a specific region. Tequila is a type of Mezcal mainly produced in the town of Tequila, while Mezcal is produced in many different regions across the country. 

But there are other differences… first, there are different types of agave used to produce Tequila and other Mezcals. Tequila can only be made from blue agave, whereas Mezcal can be made by from any of 30 different agave varieties. 

Additionally, Tequila requires a different production technique that differentiates it from other Mezcals. Typically, Tequila is produced in a more modern process when compared to other agave spirits. The agave in Tequila is roasted in industrial ovens and the spirit is distilled in copper stills. With other Mezcals, the agave is usually roasted in a large pit with either wood or charcoal and distilled in clay potsa much more traditional method of production. 

In terms of taste: think similar but different. Tequila is typically a lot smoother than Mezcal, with a more refined flavor profile. Mezcals can be wild: smokey, brine-y, earthy, and incredibly complex. Both are excellent choices, but if you’re into a more complex spirit, don’t pass up an opportunity to give Mezcal a try!