The Truth About Mezcal

A Beginner's Guide to Mezcal, Tequila's Divine Cousin

Ahh… Tek-EE-la! No! Mes-KAL! No, Tequila! WTF’s the difference? Up until a few years ago, I’d be damned if I knew because in truth - none - of the bars I’ve worked over the last 20 or so years ever bothered to carry any Mezcal whatsoever. It just wasn’t “a thing” or in demand. Well folks, times have changed. With the proliferation of speakeasy’ish throwback bars in NYC the last few years, obscure, off-beat, and unique spirits are all the vogue and Mezcal is no exception. In other words, Hipsters and wealthy urban professionals are demanding here in The Big Apple are blowing this previously unpopular spirit up making it the next “thing.” But don’t the fact that douchebag-central loves them some Mezcal stop you from enjoying an utterly enjoyable off-the-beaten-path bevie come bevie time.

In reality, Mezcal has been around for a long, long time. It’s just that said spirit is enjoying quite the resurgence thanks to the explosion in popularity of trendy – yet seemingly exclusive – quality imbiberies like Beauty & Essex, Bathtub Gin, Ward III, Dutch Kills, Employees Only, Dear Irving and The Garret. This wonderful list of some of my favorite throwback cocktal lounges can go far deeper.

Mezcal is just like Tequila except not. In a nutshell, they’re both made form the pinas, or centers, of certain varieties of Mexican desert plants: Blue Agave for Tequila, and   Whereas quality Tequila’s base is the well-known Blue Agave, Mezcal is made from the Maguey (a.k.a., American Aloe or Amareican Agave). Mezcal pinas are roasted which impart a hella smoke flavor – yum!

Adam Clark Estes writes:

“It sounded like more of a revelation than a discovery. A few years later, I got my first taste of mezcal, when another friend brought back a bottle from Oaxaca. I’m not a tequila drinker, but I was quickly informed that tequila and mezcal are close siblings of very, very different temperaments. Mezcal is not something you take a shot of but rather something you put in a sniffer. It’s all smoke at first taste, but when it clears, a bouquet of flavor opens on your palette, and the distinctive sweetness of agave slides across your tongue. This I could sip!”

But don’t take this dumbass’s word for it. The geek that I am at heart, I refresh my Gizmodo, Gawker, Jalopnik, and Jezebel tabs like maybe, I dunno – 6,455 times a day jonesing for yet another exquisitely written story about… technology. So head on over to Gizmodo for the ultimate article about NYC’s spirit-du-jour, Mezcal. There’s a great write-up of the quintessential Mezcal restaurant/bar on the Lower East Site, an insightful list of Mezcal recommendations which can be bought in NYC’s boutique liquor stores.

Drink up suckers!

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7 thoughts on “The Truth About Mezcal

  1. Found your blog through research, it’s very good, really like the articles on it and I specially like the way things are written, really personal and one-on-one.
    About the Mezcal drink, i’ve tried it before, not bad in my opinion… but I do think the same will happen to Mezcal as it happened here in Portugal with the Gins to be more exact, the previous 2 years Gin was extremely requested, a well sold spirit, 2015 came and it just stopped coming out, now everyone is turning to Rums, let us see how long this holds on.
    Great blog dude
    take care

  2. woww!!!!

    nice collection wine…
    Mezcal drink is not so bad ….

    Though traditionally drank straight, mezcal’s intense smokiness and slight savory edge make it especially convincing in cocktails.


  3. Hey, great share…..

    I really loved your post as I am also a huge wine lover. I have tasted so many wines but I have not tried Mezcal yet. I am surely gonna try it now to explore why people find it so amazing. LOL

    Thanks for sharing this post.
    Keep drinking and keep sharing too…..

  4. I was looking for something new to try as I have been bored by drinking some particulars only.

    I got impressed by the description of the taste you have given and thinking of tasting it pretty soon.


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