Differences Between Tequila And Mezcal

July 31, 2016

You can’t leave Mexico without trying them!

Tequila Vs Mezcal: Who Is The Winner?

We love both, but, what’s the difference between these two Mexican (super strong) drinks? Continue reading.

First things first, where do they really come from? 

The name tequila was given to this drink because of its original birthplace name: a municipality in the state of Jalisco, Mexico, named, of course, Tequila.

On the other hand, mezcal acquired its name by the merge of two Nahuatl words, which are: “metl” that means maguey and “ixcalli” that  means cooked; so we have the word mezcal which means “wood-oven baked maguey”, and it is native to the state of Oaxaca, Mexico.


What are they made of?

Tequila  is made out of blue agave, or agave tequilana weber, to be more precise, and it can be mixed sometimes with sugar and other carbohydrates from the same agave.

Mezcal is 100% agave: it is expected that no substance is added to it. It can come from one or many of 14 different agave varieties, including wild ones. Even though, is a type 2 Mezcal, or “non-traditional” mezcal, that accepts some added sugars and carbohydrates.


Where can I find good Tequila and Mezcal?

Tequila has a designation of origin, and to be true tequila, it must be produced within the state of Jalisco, or in certain territories of the states of Michoacan, Guanajuato, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas.

Mezcal also has a designation of origin,  it is mostly produced in the states of Durango, Guerrero, Oaxaca, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas, Guanajuato, Tamaulipas, and Michoacan.

Did you know that 9 out of 10 liters of mezcal are produced in Oaxaca, Mexico? So, if you have the chance to visit this place, for sure you must try a good mezcal.

How should I drink them?

Tequila is supposed to be taken in one single gulp or shot, accompanied by salt and lemon. But this doesn’t necessarily work the same with all kinds of tequila, it depends on how aged it is, so maybe it would be better to enjoy it little by little to savor its exquisite taste. 

When talking about mezcal, you might not want to drink it in just one shot. Mezcal is supposed to be sipped, so you can enjoy it’s flavor and is usually accompanied with slices of orange and a mixture of salt. Some sommeliers also suggest pairing it with pure +90% cocoa chocolate.

Thanks to their popularity, you can find bottles from the best of both in high-end stores and some specialized liquor stores.

Mezcal is one of those few pleasurable drinks that must be taken a kiss at a time, with sips instead of deep gulps.

Fun fact: some bottles of mezcal have a worm on the inside (not the ones you find in your lawn, it is, as a matter of fact, a larva); it’s a peculiar tradition, but the highest quality mezcal bottles won’t contain it.

Now that you know everything about these two Mexican drinks,  you can go and try them without getting confused with their similarity.

Have you tried tequila or mezcal? How was your experience, did you like it?

We want to hear your story!

Mercadóloga y chilanga de corazón, amante de la comida mexicana; la música es mi inspiración


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