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Mezcal vs tequila

mezcal vs tequila

Mezcal vs tequila, at first glance may seem very similar, since they both come from the fermentation and distillation of agave, but in reality they have many distinctions that we will detail below. Join us in this world of mezcal and don’t get caught in a curve when you are asked in what is the difference between mezcal and tequila!

Difference between mezcal and tequila

The type of maguey

First of all, the type of maguey used to make mezcal and tequila are very different. Tequila can only be made from blue agave.

And for mezcal, it can be made from 20 types of maguey, and “Ensambles” (Espadin-Tobalá, Espadin-Cuishe, among others) can be produced from more than one type of agave.

Appellations of origin

Mezcal and tequila, for its production, can only be produced in exclusive states. For tequila, it can only be produced in Jalisco, Nayarit, Michoacan, Tamaulipas, Guanajuato.

On the other hand, mezcal can be produced in Oaxaca, Guerrero, Michoacan, Tamaulipas, Durango, Guanajuato, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas, Puebla, Estado de Mexico, Morelos and Aguas Calientes (these last three were recently added).

Type of cooking in agave

For tequila, the agaves are placed in steam ovens. And for mezcal, it is cooked in wooden ovens or subway ovens, hence its distinctive smoky flavor.

Preparation methods

The production of mezcal is mostly artisanal, although officially it can be produced industrially.

As for tequila, its production is generally industrially automated. It uses large steam ovens, crushers, fermentation with chemical yeast, among other automations for its large-scale production.

diferencia entre mezcal y tequila
Types of cooking between tequila and mezcal

mezcal vs tequila taste

The flavor differences between mezcal and tequila center mainly on a distinctive characteristic of mezcal: its smoky flavor. This smoky flavor is due to the process of cooking the agave piñas in holes in the ground, which gives it a distinctive taste profile appreciated by many consumers. Meanwhile, tequila, although also derived from agave, does not usually have this smoky flavor due to differences in its production method.

  • Tequila tends to have a much cleaner taste than mezcal, since its preparation method is mostly industrial. Mezcal, on the other hand, is much more artisanal, and it achieves very distinctive flavors according to the type of agave, agave region, and preparation method (artisanal or ancestral).

  • Mezcal, due to its rich variety of agaves, also includes “ensambles” which, in a quick definition, are fusions of agaves in cooking to produce a type of mezcal.

  • Mezcal can also be aged like tequila, achieving two types of mezcals with espadín agave: Mezcal reposado and Mezcal añejo.

  • In addition to this, mezcal increases its level of experience and flavor by combining worm salt, or also the famous maguey worm.

  • And of course, mezcal and tequila can be used for cocktails.

is mezcal stronger than tequila?

Officially, it is recorded that mezcal has an alcohol percentage of between 35% to 55%, and tequila between 35% to 45%. Depending on the product.

As an example, Mezcal Espadín 400 conejos has an alcohol percentage of 38%. While Don Julio 70 añejo tequila has 35%.

what's the difference between mezcal and tequila

In conclusion

The main difference between mezcal and tequila lies in their regions of origin, agave varieties used, and production methods. Mezcal is produced mainly in Oaxaca and other states, and can use several agave species, not only blue agave like tequila. In addition, its process includes cooking the agave piñas in subway ovens, which gives it a characteristic smoky flavor.

Tequila, on the other hand, has a more specific appellation of origin in states such as Jalisco and is generally produced using only blue agave. In addition, tequila has a classification based on its maturation while mezcal is recommended to be consumed without aging to better appreciate its unique flavors. Thus, although both are distilled from agave, their differences in origin, agave used, and production method give them distinct characteristics.