What is the difference between tequila and mezcal? 3 Quick Facts

Are tequila and mezcal the same? Absolutely not. Both are made from agave, but that’s where the similarities end. Here are 3 Quick facts every Cabo connoisseur should know about the differences between tequila and mezcal.

1. All Tequilas are mezcals, but not all mezcals are tequilas.

Did you follow that? Tequila is a type of mezcal in the same way that scotch and bourbon are types of whiskey. Technically, Mezcal is defined as any agave-based liquor, therefore tequila is a subset of mezcal.

2. Tequila and mezcal made from different kinds of agave. (And agaves are not cactus, they’re related to the lily.)

Mezcal can be made from more than 30 varieties of agave, whereas tequila is made strictly from the blue agave plant, located in 5 regions in Mexico surrounding the city of Tequila (40 miles northwest of Guadalajara).

3. Tequila and mezcal are classified differently.

Once distilled, both tequila and mezcal are aged inside of oak barrels. But, their aging categories are different:


• Blanco & Joven (silver or plata, aged 0-2 months)

• Reposado (aged 2-12 months)

• Añejo (aged 1-3 years)

• Extra Añejo (aged 3+ years)


• Joven (blanco or abocado, aged 0-2 months)

• Reposado (aged 2-12 months)

• Añejo (at least one year)

Other fast facts:

• Blue agave plants take between 8-12 years to harvest.

• Mexico’s magnificent agave landscape is recognized as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.

• The Mexican Academy of Tequila Tasters has identified more than 600 aromas in tequila

What is a commonality is that whatever your preferences, both tequila and mezcal should be sipped slowly, enjoyed fully and consumed responsibly.