Mezcal 101

Last Updated: November 18, 2022

An umbrella term for an ancient array of agave spirits that hails from Mexico, particularly the Oaxaca region, the mezcal category is undergoing a 21st century renaissance.

Unlike tequila, which by law must be made from Blue Weber agave, mezcal can be made from 30-plus varietals. It can be clear, golden, or amber. Age statements range from zero to two months for joven mezcales, two months to one year for reposado, one to three years for anejo, and more than three years for extra anejo.

Del Maguey is arguably the best-known mezcal brand available in the United States. Ilegal, Fidencio, El Silencio, Casamigas, and more also produce bottles. Mezcal makes an excellent substitute for tequila in cocktails like Margaritas and Palomas. The spirit’s rising popularity and availability has encouraged enthusiasts to feature mezcal in drinks like Old Fashioned, Daiquiris, and more. Traditionally, in Oaxaca, mezcal was sipped straight, not consumed in cocktails. Learn more about this spirit, its uses, and its most recent developments in the articles below.

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