tequila vs mezcal

Mezcal vs Tequila?

"All Tequila is Mezcal, but not all Mezcal is Tequila. "

Mezcal's story predates tequila, with tequila emerging as a distinct expression of mezcal defined by its production technique, regional derivation, and the species of agave.

Currently the Tequila market is 50x larger than Mezcal with 500m Litres of tequila exported from Mexico, compared to 15m Litres of Mezcal exported, however Mezcal has seen double digit growth year on year.

Both spirits begin with the nectar of the agave plant, revered for its complexity and revered in the art of distillation. Tequila is crafted exclusively from blue agave. In contrast, mezcal embraces a broader palette, distilled from over 50 various agave species, each contributing to a richer artisanal tapestry.

Mezcal often carries a greater degree of cultural significance in the communities where it is produced. It is not just a drink but a part of social and religious ceremonies, reflecting the deep cultural roots of Mezcal.  Bandida Mezcal adheres to sustainable harvesting practices to preserve the agave populations and their local ecosystems. This includes practices like harvesting wild agave seeds and our palenque maintaining nurseries to support biodiversity.

Tequila production typically follows a more industrialised process, utilising stainless steel autoclaves and column stills. In contrast, artisanal mezcal is crafted through a deeply organic and hands-on approach, using traditional tools such as tahonas (stone wheels) to crush the agave, and hornos (earthen pits) lined with volcanic rocks for slow roasting the agave hearts. The distillation often occurs in alambiques (copper stills), which are sometimes handcrafted from local materials, further embedding the local terroir into every sip of mezcal.  Artesanal Mezcal is organic in nature and made by hand from seed to bottle.

In contrast to tequila, Mezcal fermentation is carried out using the whole mash from the agave heart, including the “agavin” fibre, which is a prebiotic.  Furthermore Bandida's agaves are fermented with the natural yeast from the agave and the local environment instead of adding yeast.

Owing to its artisanal production and the diverse agave species used, mezcal pairs wonderfully with a broad range of Mexican cuisines, enhancing both savoury dishes and desserts with its nuanced flavours.

In contrast, tequila is less commonly used for food pairings, often celebrated primarily in cocktail form.  Mezcal is traditionally savoured neat to appreciate its complex flavour profile.

The Denomination of Origin for mezcal is broader than that of tequila, encompassing several regions across Mexico, not just Jalisco. This allows for a greater diversity in production styles and regional character to come through in the spirit.




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