Tequila vs. Mezcal: What’s the Difference?
It’s time to finally understand the difference between tequila and mezcal. Read our guide to learn more about their similarities and differences.
Nov. 20, 2023
ALL AGAVE-BASED SPIRITS ARE NOT MADE EQUAL
It’s time to get to know your agave spirits. What is mezcal, and is it the same as tequila?
A common misconception is that mezcal is a type of tequila, but in reality, it’s the other way around: All tequila is mezcal, but not all mezcal is tequila. That’s because tequila is made from only one kind of agave plant, Weber Blue Agave, and in order for a spirit to earn the name “tequila,” it must come from one of these five states in Mexico: Guanajuato, Jalisco, Michoacan, Nayarit, or Tamaulipas. The strict constraints often mean that the flavor of tequila is more consistent as compared to mezcal.
PATRÓN Tequila is made entirely at Hacienda Patrón in Jalisco, Mexico, with great care and precision. Our skilled Jimadors first begin by uprooting only those Weber Blue Agave plants with optimal sugar content that have ripened over the course of seven years or so. Using a sharp tool called a Coa, they strip away the leaves to reveal the core or the piña. After they are hand-chopped, the piñas are baked in small brick ovens to ensure they’re cooked evenly. They are then crushed by a two-ton Tahona wheel and a roller mill in the ancient time-honored tradition. The mixture is then fermented for three days, distilled, and, in some cases, aged in handmade barrels. While PATRÓN Silver is unaged, PATRÓN Reposado rests for at least four months. PATRÓN Añejo continues aging for over twelve months, and PATRÓN Extra Añejo for even longer, at least three years.
On the other hand, Mezcal, while still agave-based, can be made from more than 40 different varieties of the agave plant. To make mezcal, mescaleros take the piña of the agave plant and roast it in underground pits. This method is what often gives mezcal that smokier flavor. But because there are less constraints for making mezcal, there’s greater variety—even between batches of the same agave species. Unaged mezcal is usually known as joven, meaning “young” in Spanish. While mezcal reposado (“rested”) is pretty common to see, the añejo (“aged”) category is more common in tequilas.
THE SPIRITS OF MEXICO
Both tequila and mezcal have a long history in Mexico. The processes for creating these unique agave-based spirits have been passed down for generations, and they’re some of the oldest spirits in the world. PATRÓN Tequila honors that history with its own, creating tequilas that are works of art, made by hand and crafted by passion.