Tequila Vs. Mezcal
There are many types of alcoholic beverages in the world, and each one has its own unique flavor. Two popular drinks that are often confused with one another are tequila and mezcal. Though they may be similar in appearance, these two drinks actually have quite different taste profiles.
In this blog post, we'll explore the key differences between tequila and mezcal so that you can better distinguish between them the next time you're at the bar.
Tequila is a type of alcoholic beverage made from the blue agave plant, which is native to Mexico. The agave is harvested and roasted, then crushed and fermented before being distilled into tequila. Blanco and reposado are two types of tequila that haven't been aged in barrels, while anejo and extra anejo are aged for longer periods of time. The aging process imparts an oaky flavor to the tequila, and also affects its color.
Mezcal is another type of distilled liquor that is made in Mexico from a variety of other agave plants such as espadín, tobala, barril and cuishe. It has a smoky flavor due to the traditional production process, which involves roasting the agave in an earthen pit for several days. As with tequila, there are various types of mezcal available, such as joven (unaged) and reposado (aged).
So what sets tequila and mezcal apart?
Tequila has been around since the 16th century, when it was first produced in Mexico. Mezcal, on the other hand, dates back to pre-Columbian times. This spirit has a long and rich heritage, with many traditional recipes still used today.
It's believed that mezcal was first made by a group of Aztecs who were looking for a way to celebrate their harvests. Today, mezcal is still primarily produced in Mexico and is becoming increasingly popular around the world. Mezcal's production and consumption are even regulated by the Mexican government.
First and foremost, it's important to note that tequila is a type of mezcal. The difference lies in the production method.
Tequila is made from only one type of agave plant—blue agave. The agave is harvested and slow-roasted before being distilled twice. This process gives tequila its signature smoky flavor. With this in mind, it's safe to say that tequila has a stronger and more intense taste than mezcal.
Mezcal, on the other hand, can be made from more than 30 different types of agave plants. It is also double-distilled but is made with roasted agave hearts that have been cooked in an underground oven. This process gives mezcal a smoky and earthy flavor that some have likened to a campfire.
Additionally, mezcal often contains additional flavorings, such as fruits and herbs. This makes it milder and slightly sweeter than tequila.
The primary difference between tequila and mezcal is the intensity of flavor.
Tequila has a distinct smoky taste, while mezcal has a more subtle, earthy flavor. Moreover, mezcal tends to be somewhat sweeter than tequila due to the added fruits and herbs that are used in its production.
Tequila is often served as a shot, while mezcal can be enjoyed on its own or mixed into cocktails. Both beverages pair well with citrus fruit and other ingredients for a refreshing and flavorful beverage.
The alcohol content of each beverage depends on the type that you're drinking. Generally speaking, both tequila and mezcal are around 40% ABV (80 proof).
However, some higher-proof variations of both drinks can reach upwards of 80% ABV (160 proof). Its alcohol content can also vary depending on the aging process and other factors.
Tequila is typically served in a shot glass, this type of glass helps to bring out the flavor of the tequila making it easier to sip. It's often accompanied by a lime wedge and a pinch of salt on the rim of the glass, which helps to bring out the flavor even further.
While mezcal is often presented in a small clay cup. Some variations of mezcal are even served in gourds or bottles with worm-shaped corks. This has become a popular way of serving mezcal due to its unique and flavorful taste profile. Since mezcal is often sipped and not taken as a shot, it's important to choose the right vessel for maximum enjoyment.
Mezcal and tequila are both types of alcoholic beverages that originate from Mexico. Though they share many similarities, there are key differences between them in terms of flavor profile, history and production method. Knowing these distinctions can help you choose the right beverage for your next night out!