Tequila and mezcal are quite the go-to combination when celebrating a special moment with close friends. Surely you’ve sampled both of these two iconic beverages and may even have a favorite, but how different are they?

What are the differences between Tequila and Mezcal?

On one hand, they both appear to be similar from a distance but with a different name. They both have a similar preparation process, from the fermentation to the distillation of agave, but the big difference lies within this ingredient.

Raw Materials

The prime ingredient of tequila is blue Tequilana Weber agave, while mezcal requires about 20 varieties of maguey for its production, which can be combined to create different flavors.


There are also a few notable differences in their production; mezcal carries a greater artisanal method, its fermentation takes place in stone ovens free of chemical yeasts and is distilled in a copper still.

On the other hand, tequila is prepared in a more automated approach, large steam ovens, crushers, and chemical yeasts are involved, thus being able to produce larger quantities of this beverage.


Beyond its method of production, one of the most obvious distinctions is in the taste: tequila is usually sweeter and floral, while mezcal generally tastes smoked with certain agave and wood dyes.

Denomination of Origin

In addition to their production, components, and flavor, the most important difference is that both drinks hold the Denomination of Origin. These two ancestral spirits can only be made in special regions.

Which states can produce Tequila and Mezcal?

In the case of tequila, it can only be produced in designated cities within the states of Jalisco, Nayarit, Michoacan, Tamaulipas, and Guanajuato. While the mezcal’s Denomination of Origin extends to the states of Oaxaca, Guerrero, Michoacan, Tamaulipas, Durango, Guanajuato, San Luis Potosí, Zacatecas, Puebla, State of Mexico, Morelos and Aguascalientes.

Ways of drinking

Both can be drunk in their purest form or in a cocktail. Although it’s a custom to drink both from a shot glass, it is more suitable to drink in small sips from a glass of wine, just as if you were kissing it, this way you can taste every tone of both beverages. 

Usually, when tequila is drunk neat, it’s accompanied with a lemon wedge and salt, while mezcal is consumed with worm salt and an orange wedge. As far as mixology is concerned, tropical flavors are the ideal combination for Tequila, and sour or bitter flavorings go best with mezcal cocktails.

Mexico’s 16 Denominations of Origin celebrated in Grand Velas Riviera Maya, is a special event where you can indulge in the roots of these two drinks as well as other products that derive from tequila and mezcal, which denote the immense inherited wealth of our country.

Where did tequila originate?

Tequila was created and received its name from a small town in the Mexican state of Jalisco.

How much alcohol is in tequila?

Tequila contains between 37% and 45% alcohol.

How many calories are in a shot of tequila?

A tequila shot contains approximately 96 calories.

Why is there a worm in mezcal?

It is a custom to add some herbs, maguey worms or scorpions to provide mezcal with special characteristics or flavor notes.

How much alcohol is in mezcal?

Mezcal contains between 35% and 55% alcohol.