The Difference Between Tequila & Mezcal

Oct 10, 2023

Let's dive into the wonderful world of Mexican spirits! When it comes to this vibrant scene, tequila and mezcal are the stars of the show. These two spirits are both born from the agave plant, a succulent native to Mexico. But here's where they start to dance to their own tunes.

Agave Plants

Both tequila and mezcal are derived from the agave plant, a succulent native to Mexico. However, the specific type of agave used differs between the two spirits. Tequila is made exclusively from the blue agave plant, while mezcal can be produced from various types of agave, including espadín, tobalá, and tobaziche. This variation inave plants contributes to the distinct flavours and aromas found in each spirit.

Production Process

The production process also sets tequila and mezcal apart. Tequila is typically produced in large-scale industrial distilleries using modern methods, while mezcal is often crafted using traditional, artisanal techniques. Mezcal production involves roasting the agave hearts in underground pits, giving it a smoky flavour that is characteristic of the spirit. Tequila, on the other hand, is typically not roasted, resulting in a cleaner and more straightforward taste.

Geographical Designation

Tequila can only be produced in specific regions of Mexico, primarily in the state of Jalisco and limited areas in a few other states. Mezcal, on the other hand, can be produced in several regions across Mexico, including Oaxaca, Durango, and Guerrero. This distinction in geographical origin adds to the unique terroir and flavour profiles of each spirit.

Taste and Flavor Profile

Tequila is known for its clean and crisp taste, with flavours ranging from citrus and pepper to vanilla and caramel. Mezcal, on the other hand, offers a more complex and robust flavour profile. Its smoky undertones, often likened to a campfire or barbecue, set it apart from tequila. Mezcal can also exhibit earthy, fruity, and herbal notes, making it a more adventurous choice for those seeking unique flavours.

Serving and Pairing

Tequila's a social butterfly, mingling well in classic cocktails like margaritas and palomas, or enjoying a solo sip.

Mezcal, on the other hand, likes to stand out in a crowd, whether solo or mixed in a cocktail that complements its unique character.

When it comes to pairing, tequila pairs well with citrus-based dishes, seafood, and spicy cuisine, while mezcal can stand up to richer flavours like grilled meats and hearty stews.


While tequila and mezcal share a common origin in the agave plant, their differences in production, taste, and geographical designation make them distinct spirits with unique characteristics. Whether you prefer the clean and crisp flavours of tequila or the smoky complexity of mezcal, both offer a taste of Mexico's rich spirit heritage. So, next time you're in the mood for a Mexican libation, consider trying tequila or mezcal to experience the diverse flavors of these iconic spirits.