Food & Drink

Mezcal vs. Tequila

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What is the difference between tequila and Mezcal? Which one should you use? Here are the facts.

What’s the difference between tequila and Mezcal? Although they are both made from the same plant as Mexican liquors, they have different tastes. Tequila is a type of Mezcal. However, not all Mezcal can be tequila. That isn’t very clear! Mezcal is a popular cocktail ingredient, but tequila remains the most widely consumed liquor globally. This is what you need to know about both agave spirits.

What’s the difference between tequila and Mezcal?

Both tequila and Mezcal are liquors made from agave. However, they taste and are used in very different ways. Here’s how it works:

Mezcal Overview

  • What is it: Mezcal, a Mexican spirit made of the agave plant, is similar to tequila. Tequila is one type of Mezcal. However, not all Mezcal can be called tequila. Mezcal is made with 50 types of agave. However, only one type (blue agave) makes tequila. Mezcal’s distinctive smoky flavor is due to cooking the agave in pits within the ground. This gives it a depth and smokiness that you won’t find in tequila.
  • What is the taste of mezcal? Mezcal has strong, smoky flavors with sweet and lingering notes.
  • What is the average cost of Mezcal? A 750ml mezcal bottle costs between $20-and $40. However, high-end brands may cost more. For cocktails, save the higher-end Mezcal and sip on it.
  • Alcohol contentMezcal has a 55% ABV (alcohol-by-volume), more than tequila.

Tequila overview

  • Tequila is a Mexican distilled spirit made of blue agave or agave Tequila. Tequila can be described as a type of Mezcal, any spirit made from various agave.
  • What is tequila-like? Tequila Blanco is an unaged tequila. It is agave forward with citrus and pepper notes with a spicy finish. Tequila reposado has been aged in oak barrels for 2-12 months to develop a smooth taste and aromas of oak, vanilla and caramel. Tequila Anejo is aged for 1 to 4 years in oak. It tastes richer with cinnamon and vanilla notes. Anejo is usually drunk straight, but less when mixed in cocktails.
  • What does tequila costs? Prices vary depending on the quality of the tequila and how long it has been aged. A 750ml bottle of mid-range tequila costs between $20 and $30, while bottles with higher quality can run up to $150. You can save the expensive tequila to sip and mix with the cheaper stuff.
  • Alcohol content Tequila has a 40% ABV (alcohol per volume).

When to use tequila vs. Mezcal:

In short, Mezcal can be described as a distilled spirit made from various agave plants. The strong smokey flavor is obtained by cooking the agave in pits. Tequila is a distilled spirit made from only the blue agave plants. It is a distilled spirit that has an agave-forward taste and a smoother, richer flavor when aged (labeled reposado or Anejo).

  • Mezcal adds a smokey flavor to beverages. You only need a little. It’s often used with tequila to create smoky twists on classic drinks like the Mezcal Margarita and Mezcal Paloma.
  • Tequila has been a staple in classic cocktails for centuries. The Margarita is a popular cocktail, and the Paloma or Tequila Sunset.

Mezcal Margarita

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) mezcal
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) tequila Blanco or reposado
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) Cointreau
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) fresh lime juice
  • Flaky sea salt for the rim
  • For garnish: Lime circle


  1. Cut the edge of a lime wedge and then wrap the lime around the glass’s rim. Dip the edge of your glass rim in a plate of flaky sea salt.
  2. Mix the Mezcal with the Cointreau, Tequila, Cointreau and lime juice in a shaker with four ice cubes. Shake until chilled
  3. Add the Margarita to the glass. Serve the Margarita in a glass filled with ice.


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