MEZCAL vs Tequila
Tequila is a type of mezcal.
Many people assume its the other way around, but that’s not so. The word “mezcal” literally means “roasted agave”. So, tequila is a type of mezcal since any spirit made from agave is classified as such.
What is the difference between tequila and mezcal?
1. They’re produced in different regions.
Just like real champagne can only come from Champagne, France, and legit scotch is only made in Scotland, tequila and mezcal have regional distinctions. Oaxaca makes more than 90 percent of the world’s mezcal supply. Durango is also famous for its mezcal production.
Jalisco is the epicenter of tequila production. “The tequila region, when they understood, they were like let’s make our own little thing here,”
2. They’re made from different varieties of agave.
There are nearly 200 types of the plant, and mezcal can be made from more than 40 of them. As such, it can be a blend of two different varieties of agave plants, too—similar to a blend of different wine grapes. Tequila can only come from Blue Agave.
3. They’re distilled differently.
The agave for tequila is steamed in ovens that are above ground. Mezcal producers use in-ground fire pits filled with wood and charcoal.
Mezcal doesn’t have to taste like smoke.
Some bartenders feel the descriptor undercuts the spirit: Mezcal can taste a little charred because of the way it’s produced, but you might also try some with floral, fruity, or earthy notes. A lot of it comes down to the specific agave plant—where it is, what variety it is, and when and how it was harvested.
Espadin mezcals are for beginners; then, graduate to tobalà.
Espadin agave is one of the most prevalent species of the plant, making it the most popular source of mezcal. Since it’s so widespread, the taste can vary wildly from bottle to bottle. Tobalà is referred to as “the king of mezcals” because the agave plant is more scarce and harder to harvest. Read: That sh*t’s expensive.
Mezcal is having a moment.
You can’t buy flavored mezcal.
The spirit isn’t like vodka: It’s not bottled to taste like pumpkin pie or strawberries. If you want it to taste differently, you’ll need to mix it into a cocktail. (Or go to a mezcal bar, and have someone do it for you.)
You can not buy Mezcal in bulk, Mezcal needs to be bottled in Mexico.
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