Tequila and mezcal are both made by distilling agave, but there are a couple of significant differences between the two spirits. Mezcal is made by harvesting one of 50-plus species of agave, which is then wood-roasted, crushed and distilled in small batches, taking up to 30 days to produce. Usually rich and smoky (but not always), it’s Mexico’s answer to single-malt whisky.
In contrast, tequila is made only with a single species of agave: blue. While the spirit’s history goes back much further, the majority of tequila is now produced by cooking agave in modern steam ovens. The results are distilled, then bottled unaged (blanco), rested on oak for less than a year (reposado) or between one and three years (añejo).
These are just the basics. As with any spirits, there’s an enormous amount of variety out there, which the staff at these bars will only be too happy to talk you through. So whether you’re looking for a topnotch Margarita or Paloma, or something to savour and sip neat, there’s a spot here for you.
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