Mezcal and tequila are two popular spirits that are often confused with each other, but they are actually quite different. Both are made from agave plants, but the differences in production methods and types of agave used result in distinct flavor profiles and drinking experiences. Now it’s time toexplore the differences between mezcal and tequila, their histories, production processes, and flavor profiles.
Mezcal is a traditional Mexican spirit that has been produced for centuries. It is made from the agave plant, which is roasted in underground ovens before being distilled. The production process is labor-intensive and requires skilled artisans to carry out each step. The result is a spirit that is smoky and complex, with flavors that can vary depending on the type of agave used.
Tequila, on the other hand, is a more recent creation that originated in the town of Tequila, Jalisco, in the 18th century. Like mezcal, it is made from the agave plant, but the production process is different. To make tequila, only blue Weber agave can be used, and the plant is baked in an oven rather than roasted in an underground pit. This results in a spirit that is smoother and more mellow than mezcal, with a sweeter flavor profile.
The Differences Between The Two
Types Of Agave
One of the main differences between mezcal and tequila is the type of agave used. Mezcal can be made from any type of agave, while tequila must be made from blue Weber agave. This difference in agave selection results in different flavor profiles. Mezcal can have a smoky, earthy taste, while tequila is usually sweeter and smoother.
Another difference between mezcal and tequila is the production process. Mezcal is produced in small batches and often by hand, while tequila is produced on a larger scale using more modern equipment. Mezcal is also usually distilled twice, while tequila is distilled only once.
Mezcal and tequila also have different drinking rituals. Mezcal is often sipped slowly, as its complex flavor profile is best appreciated when savored. It is also traditionally served with a slice of orange and a sprinkle of sal de gusano (worm salt). Tequila, on the other hand, is often consumed as a shot or mixed into cocktails like the margarita.
When it comes to alcohol content, mezcal and tequila are pretty similar. Both spirits typically have an ABV of around 40%, although some higher-end varieties may have a higher alcohol content.
Lastly, it’s worth noting that mezcal is often seen as the more “artisanal” of the two spirits. It is produced in smaller quantities and is often made by hand, using traditional methods that have been passed down through generations. Tequila, on the other hand, is often seen as more commercial and mass-produced.
While mezcal and tequila share some similarities, they are two distinct spirits with different flavor profiles, production processes, and drinking rituals. Mezcal is typically smokier and more complex, while tequila is smoother and sweeter. Mezcal is also often produced in smaller batches and with more traditional methods, while tequila is produced on a larger scale. Whether you prefer the earthy complexity of mezcal or the smooth sweetness of tequila, both spirits are important parts of Mexican culture and history, and each has its own unique place in the world of spirits.