Mezcal and tequila are regularly used interchangeably for cocktails (I’ll take two smoky mezcal margaritas, please), however in fact that they’re two very other Mexican spirits. Ever heard the announcing, “All squares are rectangles, however now not all rectangles are squares.” For starters, tequila is one of those mezcal, however mezcal is now not one of those tequila. “The important thing differentiator is that whilst mezcal may also be comprised of many kinds of agave, tequila can simplest be comprised of one: blue agave,” explains Autumn Chiklis, co-founder of The Red Pig Tequila. Forward, we ruin down the important thing variations between those two spirits.
The place They’re Made
Past the kinds of agave used to make mezcal and tequila, the 2 are produced in numerous portions of Mexico. In line with Chiklis, there are 9 areas all over Mexico the place mezcal may also be produced (the most well liked area being Oaxaca) and simplest 5 the place tequila may also be produced (essentially the most well known being Jalisco, the place the true the town of Tequila is positioned).
How They’re Made
Tequila and mezcal are produced in utterly alternative ways, which in large part contributes to the distinct taste profiles of those two agave-based spirits. However first, a handy guide a rough lesson in botany: Each tequila and mezcal are made with piña, which is the phrase used to explain the core of the agave plant (piña interprets to pineapple in Spanish and the middle of the agave plant looks as if a pineapple).
Right here’s the place the 2 diverge: tequila is made via cooking piña in ovens, then shredding and fermenting it sooner than distilling it in copper pots. Mezcal, then again, is made via cooking the piña inside of an underground pit that’s coated with a mix of volcanic rocks, picket, and charcoal, says Chiklis. And as a substitute of the use of copper pots, mezcal is distilled in clay pots.
As soon as distilled, each tequila and mezcal are generally elderly in oak barrels any place from a few months to years and years and years. “Each tequila and mezcal, when elderly for 2 months and as much as one year, are classified as reposado. If they’re elderly longer than that, generally one to 4 years, they fall below the añejo class,” explains Chiklis. In the event that they’re now not elderly in any respect, they’re regarded as “blanco.” Blanco, which is apparent fairly than tinged yellow or brown, is the kind of mezcal you’re perhaps to come across within the States, and the type of tequila maximum regularly utilized in margaritas.
What Do They Style Like?
We’ve already mentioned the truth that agave is cooked in two distinct techniques to make mezcal and tequila. So how does that have an effect on the tip taste? The smoke swirling within the air within the pit offers mezcal its signature smoky intensity. “In the event you grill a rooster breast as opposed to when you boil a rooster breast, the flavour goes to be a lot other,” explains James Simpson, beverage director of Espita Mezcaleria, evaluating the 2 cooking processes. Past the smokiness, Simpson says mezcal has an earthy high quality with deep, caramelized flavors.
To in reality evaluation each tequila and mezcal, Simpson recommends serving them at room temperature in a large glass (like a clay copita) so as to respect each their aroma and taste.
However Wait…Why Is Tequila So A lot Extra In style?
Within the final 5 years or so, mezcal has turn into extra widespread as a spirit, however traditionally, tequila has been a staple of the American bar scene. “Tequila has long gone down a extra commercial trail. It went via an enormous expansion that mezcal by no means has,” says Simpson. “Once we speak about tequila, we’re in reality speaking about one form of mezcal that has gotten some huge cash and skilled an enormous growth within the U.S.,” provides Simspon. Famous person-backed tequila manufacturers like Kendall Jenner’s 818 Tequila, George Clooney’s Casamigos, and Nick Jonas’s Villa One have no doubt helped spice up enthusiasm for the spirit. Mezcal, then again, is quirkier and regularly made in a lot smaller batches, which means it interprets much less neatly to mass manufacturing.
You received’t all the time in finding mezcal on this vintage Mexican cocktail—however you’ll be so satisfied while you do.
This scrumptious, natural cocktail pairs Sombra mezcal with Averna amaro—an Italian digestif. To steadiness probably the most depth of the 2 liqueurs, recipe developer Samantha Weiss Hills added grapefruit juice, lime juice, and ginger beer.
Roasted strawberry purée transforms this mezcal-based margarita into a fancy, quite candy, quite smoky drink that we’re positive to sip on repeat all summer time lengthy.
We will be able to’t speak about tequila with out sharing our favourite recipe for a margarita. It requires a vintage aggregate of tequila, Cointreau, recent lime juice, and agave syrup—plus salt and lime wedges for a garnish. As for what form of tequila to make use of, we advise a easy reposado (evenly elderly), reminiscent of Cazadores Reposado. It doesn’t pack an excessive amount of of a punch and balances neatly with the remainder of the flavors within the drink.
Transfer apart, whiskey, and make room for tequila. We had somewhat (k, so much) of amusing converting up the recipe for this undying cocktail via swapping an Añejo tequila rather than the standard whiskey and incorporating mole bitters.
As soon as once more, we mentioned good-bye to whiskey and gave a perfect large hi to tequila on this scrumptious twist on an old-fashioned drink. Tequila nonetheless accommodates various heat, candy flavors like vanilla and caramel so that you’ll get to experience all of the comfy feels.
Are you group mezcal or tequila? Tell us within the feedback under!
This publish accommodates merchandise independently selected (and beloved) via our editors and writers. Food52 earns an associate fee on qualifying purchases of the goods we hyperlink to.