Tequila is a type of Mezcal not the other way around like most people would think. There are 3 major differences between the two: they’re produced in different regions, made from different varieties of agave, distilled differently.
Oaxaca and Durango are famous for their Mezcal production, the first one being responsible for 90%percent of it. In parallel, Jalisco is famous for being the centre of tequila production.
Out of 200 types of agave you can make Mescal from 40 of them. You can even blend to types of agave, keeping in mind they need to be close, like grapes for a wine.
In comparison, tequila can only be made out of the Blue agave.
How to do it
To make Mezcal, the producers use in-ground fire-pits filled with wood and charcoal. This is different from the way we make tequila: the agave is steamed in ovens that are above ground.
The taste of the drinks is special as well. You can’t get a flavoured Mezcal. This drink is not like a watermelon vodka or so, no no no, it has power on its own. Although it can have fruit notes, depending on which agave its use to make it, the tone that most people are noticing is “smokey” . It has a smoky flavour, but this is not something that is a must, some brands will use it as a selling point, some will make it as smooth as possible. In the end is your own preference.
Mezcal is becoming famous. Just like absinthe did in its time, this drink is making some waves. People are opening bars dedicated to it, bartenders are making cocktails emphasising the taste.