Mezcal is a category of spirits on the rise, with more distillers in Mexico turning to mezcal, and more mezcal being exported than ever before – though it is still dwarfed by sales of tequila. Mezcal is a spirit that can be distilled from any agave plant. This is why all tequila is also technically a type of mezcal, as it is made from the blue agave. However, mezcal today commonly means a spirit made from any agave except for the blue agave, which is reserved for tequila. In practice, only about 50 or 60 of the 300 species of agave in existence are suitable for spirits, but it’s the method preparation – which involves roasting the agave pinas over an open fire – that makes mezcal much smokier than tequila, both on both nose and palate. It’s not unlike a whisky from Islay in Scotland. Most mezcal comes from the state of Oaxaca, though it can also be made in several other smaller regions of Mexico. Joven (young) mezcal is the most common; it is unaged and bottled immediately after the legally required two distillations. Reposado is aged for at least two months in holm oak or white oak barrels, while añejo or añejado is aged for at least twelve months in holm or white oak barrels. Mezcal can be bottled at anything from 72 to 110 proof. The best will be labelled as 100% agave; those that contain up to 20% non-agave spirits are known as a mixto.

Top Mezcal Posts:

A Field Guide to the Agave Used For Mezcal
Del Maguey Iberico Mezcal
Ilegal Mezcal

Drinkhacker’s 2020 Holiday Gift Guide – Best Alcohol/Spirits for Christmas

By Christopher Null | November 26, 2020 |

At this point it feels safe to say that the 2020 holiday season will be unlike any other in our lifetimes. And while in-person gatherings may not be possible, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to stop exchanging gifts. In fact, in the world of booze, it’s easier than ever to ship a bottle of…

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The Top 10 Tequilas and Mezcals of 2020

By Christopher Null | November 12, 2020 |

With celebrities ranging from Dwayne Johnson to Michael Jordan to Bryan Cranston all getting in on the tequila and mezcal game, you’d think a mass migration from Hollywood to Mexico was underway. Nope, turns out that’s just where the money is. After George Clooney and pals got $1 billion for their sale of Casamigos a…

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Review: Vamonos Riendo Mezcal

By Christopher Null | November 3, 2020 |

Vamonos Riendo Mezcal is a new “ensamble” style joven mezcal, made of a blend of 8 year old espadin and 14 year old tobala agaves. Triple-distilled at high altitude, the company behind it also says it supports the Oaxacan community with charitable giving programs. Let’s give it a whirl. The mezcal is nearly transparent, with…

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Review: Convite Mezcal – Esencial and Tobala

By Christopher Null | September 14, 2020 |

Convite — Spanish for invitation — is a new(ish) brand in the U.S. with a substantial range of expressions already under its belt. The Oaxaca-based brand launched with three varieties and now markets at least seven in total, many made from single species of agave. We received two of Convite’s product line to check out. Thoughts…

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Review: Izo Mezcal Joven Cenizo

By Christopher Null | July 28, 2020 |

Izo is a new mezcal brand, and while a collection of spirits is planned for the future, the present of Izo is a single product, a joven style mezcal made from wild Cenizo agave grown in Durango, Mexico. Izo has put a lot of effort into standing out from a packaging standpoint — the bottle…

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Celebrate National Tequila Day 2020 with Our Favorite Cocktails

By Jovie Belisle | July 23, 2020 |

We can think of no better time of year to celebrate tequila than summer, so the liquor gods knew what they were up to when they made July 24th National Tequila Day. If, like us, simply reading the following cocktail recipes featuring tequila makes you want to don on a swimsuit, throw on your sunglasses,…

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Review: Acre Mezcal Cenizo Joven

By Christopher Null | July 22, 2020 |

Brand new operation Acre Mezcal — you’ll know it by the large “A” on the top of the twine-wrapped bottle — is an up and coming producer of the smoky, Mexican spirit. It makes four varieties of mezcal, all unaged/joven, each made from a different species of agave. Cenizo is a wild agave grown in…

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Review: Los Vecinos del Campo Mezcal Ensamble No 1 and Tobala

By Christopher Null | February 18, 2020 |

Los Vecinos Mezcal hit the scene last year with a killer expression made from espadin agave, produced by its independent co-op (of sorts) comprised of 10 mezcaleros. Now it’s back with two new mezcals, a blend called Ensamble and an expression made of 100% tobala mezcal. Let’s give them both a try. Los Vecinos del…

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The Top 10 Tequilas and Mezcals of 2019

By Christopher Null | November 1, 2019 |

Tequila continues to grow in popularity and market share, thanks to a glut of high-quality, 100% agave spirit on the market. You can also thank a surging interest in mezcal, as artisanal offerings continue to push the smoky spirit into new places, with focuses on terroir and single varietals of agave. Today we take a…

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Review: Mezcal Union Uno and El Viejo

By Christopher Null | October 30, 2019 |

The latest mezcal to hit the market comes to us not from a globetrotting celebrity but from a group of Mexican farmers going it alone: Mezcal Unión is an artisanal mezcal brand & co-op built with the intention to unite indigenous farmers and family producers from different communities of Oaxaca. The goal of Mezcal Union…

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