Mexico City is hands-down one of the world’s most exciting food cities. The Club’s 2023 Once-in-a-Lifetime Journey showcases the capital’s top restaurants, chefs, and distilleries. On this epic culinary travel adventure, Members will dine at two acclaimed restaurants, Pujol and Quintonil, and also get schooled in tequila and mezcal during an interactive mixology workshop. Here, Carmen Uribe, the head bartender at Pujol, and Jimena López, former colleague and cocktail wizard who is now at Café de Nadie, explain the differences between the two spirits.
WHAT ARE THE KEY DISTINCTIONS BETWEEN TEQUILA AND MEZCAL?
Flavor isn’t the only thing that sets Mexico’s two popular spirits apart. Social and economic factors also make the two drinks unique. Tequila is a kind of mezcal, like the way that Bordeaux is a type of wine. Mezcal is the name for all agave spirits and tequila is just one variety of mezcal made with only one type of agave: agave azul.
Mezcal, known as the smoky one for its flavor, is a community-based, highly regional craft culture. The communities that make it have managed to continue to use traditions they have developed over decades. More than 40 species of wild agave are used to craft this spirit.
ARE THE TWO SPIRITS CLASSIFIED LIKE WINE?
Denominations of origin stem from a system of appellations introduced in France during the nineteenth century to regulate and protect the wine industry. The objective of DO is to protect a product's quality, but also the culture surrounding it: its people.
In 1974 tequila won its own DO. Tequila is to mezcal what Cognac is to Brandy: the most famous appellation, regulated agave spirit, which is only permitted to be distilled in the states of Jalisco, Guanajuato, Nayarit, and Michoacán. The most famous agave “tequilana weber” is the sole variety used to make tequila.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE TOP PRODUCERS AND WHERE CAN YOU FIND THEM IN MEXICO CITY?
Some of the best local mezcal brands include Alipús, Real Minero, and La Locura. For tequila, top producers include Cascahuin, Caballito, and Cerrero. Las Brujas and Café de Nadie, two excellent bars both located in the Roma area, have incredibly extensive selections of both spirits and a knowledgeable team who can guide you through tastings. Members can visit these places at leisure time.
Learn trip dates, in-depth itinerary details, and costs with the official OIAL Journeys announcement on March 16, 2022. Reservation requests will be accepted from March 16 – 29, 2022.
Learn more about our 2023 Once-in-a-Lifetime Journeys and their not-to-be-missed moments here.