Explore your world
Espadín agave, rough around the edges | © Nedarus/Flickr
Espadín agave, rough around the edges | © Nedarus/Flickr

Tequila vs. Mezcal: Which Mexican Drink Are You?

Picture of Lauren Cocking
Updated: 24 January 2017
Mezcal and tequila are the dominant spirits of the Mexican drinking world, and while the former is only just enjoying its trajectory to international glory, tequila has been well-known globally for many years now due to some savvy marketing campaigns. But have you ever wondered exactly which one you are? Do you yearn to know whether you’re a smooth, classic tequila or a rustic-yet-urban mezcal? If so, you’ve come to the right place.


The tequilas of the world are established, secure and sure of who they are; everyone knows them and they know everyone else. They’ve been around the block and if they had Facebook, they’d probably have some comedy quip about attending the school of hard knocks somewhere on their profile.

Having said that, they’re a real smooth talker and know that influence is everything – it’s not what you know but who you know, after all. Much like tequila itself, they’re always well turned out, polished, but perhaps a little too much like everyone else when you get down to it.

Tequilas have mortgages and families, are settled into their routine and know what they like – there’s a whole town named after them, how could they not be home birds and comfort fiends at heart, even if it does take them years to reach peak maturity. Although, if something goes wrong, they’re not the ones you want to weather the storm with, as they’re easily thrown into a tail spin from drastic change.

Everyone’s dad is friends with a tequila, and if it comes down to image, they’re undeniably slick and try hard to follow all the latest trends… a few months after everyone else. Alternatively, their style is classic and refined, just like them, if a little outdated. Either way, the tequilas of the world are probably wearing just a touch too much hair product at any given time.


Mezcals, on the other hand, are that friend you’re convinced is a bad influence deep down, but you just can’t dodge their calls. They’re edgy free spirits with a street-smart mentality and youthful vibe, even well into their 30s when most people have matured into a tequila.

Unlike the tequilas and their need for normality –tequila must be made with 100 per cent blue agave – mezcals are wanderers with nothing and nobody holding them back. “Mezcal is all about intensity of flavour and variety”, Mezcal connoisseur, Ben Schroder from Meanwhile Drinks informs us. They’re the brave few who buy around-the-world tickets without a second thought and ditch everything for the opportunity. They’re intense, living life to the full and savouring every moment and, ultimately, their experiences are as rich as they are.

While the tequilas of the world think that all mezcals are identical, they couldn’t be further from the truth – in fact, no two mezcals are the same. Tequilas, on the other hand, have all worked in nine-to-five jobs for their entire life and have their go-to anecdotes ready for repeat. In contrast, mezcals are the ones who’ll tell you about that time they went trekking through the Andes, or discovered the eighth wonder of the world, not about the annoying receptionist on fifth.

When it comes to appearance, the mezcals of the world are rough around the edges, vaguely hipster but all with a twist of something that sets them apart. If they were men, they’d have perfected the art of two-day stubble and if they were women, they’d have cat-eye eyeliner flicks down to a fine art.

So, which one are you?