Until last night I’d never heard of Mezcal. Tequila, sure, we’ve all been there drunk that. To celebrate Cinco de Mayo today, Megan decided to do a little tasting and tell us about the similarities and differences between these two:
At one point, I went to a birthday party for a coworker and I remember this chick in our party making a stink because the bar had given her tequila instead of mezcal. “Mezcal is brown and tequila is clear, they gave me tequila.” Now the memory makes me laugh and reminds me not to order something just because it’s the new hip thing, since both tequila and mezcal can be a range of colors from clear to brown depending on the age.
We all know tequila. Either as the start of a great night or the beginning of the end of a bad one. We’ve done shots, had margaritas or classed it up with a tequila sunrise. It’s been the sign of rebellion and the harbinger of a wild night. Mezcal is very similar, but with several distinct differences and a very different flavors. Both are made from the agave plant, which is harvested in the same way and has very similar production. In the world of craft and small batch cocktails that we live in, both are experiencing a bit of a revolution in terms of premium 100% Agave options and various degrees of aging.
Tequila is produced around the town of Tequila, Mexico and comes from the cooked heart of the blue Weber agave plant and only blue Weber agave. It has delicate and distinctive agave flavors that are almost unmistakable. For this comparison, I used Olmeca Altos 100% Agave Plata Tequila from P&Js Wine and Liquor ($35). It’s a little bit piney, a little bit briney and a little floral. Almost lemongrassy. Very clean and fresh. It balanced and ready for shots or to drink on its own if you’re used to it.
Mezcal has a wider growing area around the town of Oaxaca. It can be made from many different types of agave, though Espadin is a favorite, and are usually cooked and ground in more traditional methods which will give it a rural quality. It’s going to be smokier and earthier and more savory than tequila. Tonight we’re trying Fidencio Classico Joven Mescal from Park Avenue Liquors ($40). What I love about it is the smoky character. It smells like leather seats in a vintage car and tastes like a late night campfire. It’s got a little bit of fruitiness and grassy character.
Goes best with:
– Salt on the rim
And there you have it! I hope you all have a fun (safe) Cinco de Mayo weekend and enjoy all things Tequila, Mezcal, and more.