Unit 7: Tequila & Mezcal

Food and Beverage Service III Notes Third Semester

Tequila & Mezcal

Introduction:

Tequila and Mezcal are two of the most popular distilled spirits in Mexico and have gained popularity all around the world. Both of these spirits are made from the agave plant, which is native to Mexico. However, they differ in terms of their production process, taste, and the regions where they are produced.

Tequila is a distilled spirit that is made from the blue Weber agave plant, which is primarily grown in the state of Jalisco and a few other states in Mexico. The production process involves steaming the agave plant in large ovens, which converts the starches into sugars. The sugars are then fermented and distilled to create Tequila. Tequila is typically consumed neat or in cocktails like Margarita, Paloma, and Tequila Sunrise.

On the other hand, Mezcal is made from any agave plant, including the blue Weber agave used in Tequila, but is primarily made from the agave Espadin. Mezcal is produced in various states in Mexico, with the largest production coming from Oaxaca. The production process involves roasting the agave plant in underground pits, which gives it a smoky flavor. The roasted agave is then crushed, fermented, and distilled to create Mezcal. Mezcal is typically consumed neat or in cocktails like Mezcal Mule, Oaxaca Old Fashioned, and Mezcal Margarita.

Tequila and Mezcal are both an essential part of Mexican culture and have become popular around the world due to their unique taste and versatility in cocktails.

History:

The history of Tequila and Mezcal can be traced back to the indigenous people of Mexico, who first discovered the agave plant and its many uses. The agave plant was used for food, clothing, and medicinal purposes. It was also used to make fermented drinks like pulque, which is made from the sap of the agave plant.

The production of Tequila can be traced back to the 16th century when Spanish conquistadors arrived in Mexico and introduced distillation techniques to the indigenous people. The first distillery for Tequila was established in the town of Tequila, located in the state of Jalisco, in the early 1600s. Tequila was originally known as Vino de Mezcal, which means “Mezcal wine.”

Mezcal, on the other hand, has a longer history and is believed to have been produced by the indigenous people of Mexico for over 400 years. The word Mezcal comes from the Aztec language, Nahuatl, which means “cooked agave.” Mezcal was produced and consumed primarily in the state of Oaxaca, where it remains a significant part of the cultural heritage.

Over the years, Tequila and Mezcal gained popularity not only in Mexico but also around the world. Today, both spirits have a significant presence in the global market, with various brands and styles available for consumers to choose from. They continue to be an important part of Mexican culture and are celebrated during festivals like Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and Cinco de Mayo.

Manufacturing process

The manufacturing process for Tequila and Mezcal differs slightly, although both spirits are made from the agave plant. Here is a brief overview of the production process for each:

Tequila:

  1. Harvesting: The blue Weber agave plants are harvested, and the leaves are stripped away, leaving only the piña (the core of the agave plant).
  2. Cooking: The piñas are placed in large ovens or autoclaves and steamed, converting the starches in the plant into sugars.
  3. Milling: The cooked piñas are then shredded or crushed to extract the juice.
  4. Fermentation: The juice is fermented with yeast to convert the sugars into alcohol.
  5. Distillation: The fermented juice is then double-distilled in copper pot stills to create Tequila.
  6. Aging (optional): Tequila can be aged in oak barrels for a certain period to add flavor and complexity.

Mezcal:

  1. Harvesting: The agave plant is harvested, and the leaves are stripped away, leaving only the piña.
  2. Roasting: The piñas are roasted in underground pits over hot rocks or wood, giving it a smoky flavor.
  3. Milling: The roasted piñas are crushed by a stone wheel or a mechanical mill to extract the juice.
  4. Fermentation: The juice is fermented with natural airborne yeast or added yeast to convert the sugars into alcohol.
  5. Distillation: The fermented juice is then distilled once in copper or clay pots to create Mezcal.
  6. Aging (optional): Mezcal can be aged in oak barrels or other wood types for a certain period to add flavor and complexity

Types:

There are several types of Tequila and Mezcal, each with its own unique flavor and characteristics. Here are some of the most common types:

Tequila:

  1. Blanco or Silver Tequila: Unaged Tequila that is bottled immediately after distillation, with a clear color and a strong agave flavor.
  2. Reposado Tequila: Aged in oak barrels for a minimum of two months, giving it a slightly golden color and a smooth taste.
  3. Añejo(old) Tequila: Aged in oak barrels for a minimum of one year, with a darker color and a complex, rich flavor.
  4. Extra Añejo Tequila: Aged in oak barrels for a minimum of three years, with a dark amber color and a smooth, velvety texture.

Mezcal:

  1. Blanco or Joven Mezcal: Unaged Mezcal, bottled immediately after distillation, with a clear color and a smoky, earthy flavor.
  2. Reposado Mezcal: Aged in oak barrels for a minimum of two months, with a slightly golden color and a smoother taste.
  3. Añejo Mezcal: Aged in oak barrels for a minimum of one year, with a darker color and a complex, rich flavor.
  4. Extra Añejo Mezcal: Aged in oak barrels for a minimum of three years, with a dark amber color and a smooth, velvety texture.

There are also some other types of Tequila and Mezcal, such as flavored or infused varieties, that are becoming increasingly popular. For example, flavored Tequila can be infused with fruit, herbs, or spices to create unique tastes and aromas. Some Mezcal producers also use different types of agave plants or unique production methods to create Mezcal with distinct flavors and aromas.

Categories of tequila:

Tequila is divided into two main categories: 100% agave Tequila and Tequila Mixto. Here is a brief overview of each category:

  1. 100% Agave Tequila: This type of Tequila is made exclusively from the fermented and distilled juices of the blue Weber agave plant. It is considered to be the highest quality Tequila and must be made from 100% agave by law. 100% agave Tequila can be bottled as Blanco, Reposado, Añejo, and Extra Añejo.

  2. Tequila Mixto: This type of Tequila is made from a blend of at least 51% agave juice and other sugars, usually from cane sugar. The other 49% can come from any fermentable sugar. Tequila Mixto can be bottled as Blanco, Oro, Reposado, and Añejo.

In addition to these categories, Tequila is also classified by the length of time it is aged in oak barrels:

  1. Blanco or Silver Tequila: Unaged Tequila that is bottled immediately after distillation, with a clear color and a strong agave flavor.
  2. Reposado Tequila: Aged in oak barrels for a minimum of two months, giving it a slightly golden color and a smooth taste.
  3. Añejo Tequila: Aged in oak barrels for a minimum of one year, with a darker color and a complex, rich flavor.
  4. Extra Añejo Tequila: Aged in oak barrels for a minimum of three years, with a dark amber color and a smooth, velvety texture.

It is important to note that, by law, Tequila can only be produced in specific regions of Mexico, including Jalisco, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas.

Popular Brands:

There are many popular brands of Tequila and Mezcal available, each with its own unique flavor and characteristics. Here are some of the most well-known brands:

Tequila:

  1. Patron Tequila
  2. Don Julio Tequila
  3. Jose Cuervo Tequila
  4. Herradura Tequila
  5. Sauza Tequila
  6. Casamigos Tequila
  7. Avión Tequila
  8. Milagro Tequila
  9. El Jimador Tequila
  10. Cazares Tequila

Mezcal:

  1. Del Maguey Mezcal
  2. Ilegal Mezcal
  3. El Silencio Mezcal
  4. Mezcal Vago
  5. Los Nahuales Mezcal
  6. Wahaka Mezcal
  7. Montelobos Mezcal
  8. Fidencio Mezcal
  9. Mezcal Amores
  10. Pierde Almas Mezcal

Traditional way of drinking tequila:

Traditionally, Tequila is often enjoyed in a long drink called a Paloma. Here’s how to make a Paloma:

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. Tequila
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • Grapefruit soda (such as Squirt or Jarritos), or grapefruit juice and soda water
  • Ice
  • Grapefruit wedge, for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Fill a highball glass with ice.
  2. Add the Tequila, lime juice, and salt, and stir gently to combine.
  3. Top with grapefruit soda or a combination of grapefruit juice and soda water.
  4. Stir gently to combine.
  5. Garnish with a grapefruit wedge and serve.

Palomas are a refreshing and easy way to enjoy Tequila, and the grapefruit flavor complements the Tequila nicely. If you don’t have grapefruit soda, you can also use lemon-lime soda, ginger ale, or tonic water. And if you prefer a sweeter drink, you can add a splash of simple syrup or agave nectar to the mix.

Mezcal: Traditional way of drinking mezcal:

Mezcal is traditionally sipped straight, but it can also be used to make a refreshing cocktail. One popular long drink made with Mezcal is the Mezcal Paloma. Here’s how to make it:

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. Mezcal
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • Grapefruit soda (such as Squirt or Jarritos), or grapefruit juice and soda water
  • Ice
  • Grapefruit wedge, for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Fill a highball glass with ice.
  2. Add the Mezcal, lime juice, and salt, and stir gently to combine.
  3. Top with grapefruit soda or a combination of grapefruit juice and soda water.
  4. Stir gently to combine.
  5. Garnish with a grapefruit wedge and serve.

This is a simple and refreshing way to enjoy the smoky flavor of Mezcal, with the tartness of lime and the sweetness of grapefruit. If you prefer a sweeter drink, you can add a splash of simple syrup or agave nectar to the mix. You can also experiment with different types of grapefruit soda or juice to find the flavor you like best.

Different between tequila and M

 Tequila 
OriginJalisco and some parts of MexicoOaxaca and some parts of Mexico
Type of agaveBlue Weber agaveVarious types of agave, including Espadín
ProductionCan only be made from blue agaveCan be made from different types of agave
Cooking methodCooked in an oven or autoclaveCooked in a pit oven with wood and charcoal
SmokinessUsually not smokyOften smoky and earthy
TasteCrisp and cleanComplex and flavorful
ServingOften sipped straight or in shotsSipped straight or in cocktails

Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list, and there can be variations in production methods and flavors within each category. However, this table should give you a general idea of the main differences between Tequila and Mezcal.

 
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As mentioned earlier, Tequila is often enjoyed in a long drink called a Paloma. Mezcal is traditionally sipped straight, but it can also be used to make a refreshing cocktail like the Mezcal Paloma.

Here’s a comparison of the long drinks made with Tequila and Mezcal:

 Tequila PalomaMezcal Paloma
Base SpiritTequilaMezcal
Other SpiritsNoneNone
MixersGrapefruit soda, lime juice, saltGrapefruit soda, lime juice, salt
GarnishGrapefruit wedgeGrapefruit wedge
ServingHighball glassHighball glass
TasteSweet and tangy with a crisp Tequila flavorSmoky and earthy with a complex Mezcal flavor
Best ForWarm weather and casual occasionsSophisticated events or intimate gatherings

Again, keep in mind that these are generalizations, and individual preferences may vary. Ultimately, the best way to enjoy Tequila or Mezcal is in a way that you personally enjoy.

 
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Different between tequila and mezcal
 
 
 

Tequila and Mezcal are both distilled spirits made from the agave plant, but there are some key differences between the two.

  1. Production: Tequila can only be made from blue Weber agave, whereas Mezcal can be made from a variety of agave plants, including Espadín, Tobalá, and Tepeztate. Tequila is also limited to a specific region of Mexico, whereas Mezcal is produced in several states, but most notably in Oaxaca.

  2. Cooking method: Tequila is typically cooked in an oven or an autoclave, while Mezcal is cooked in an underground pit oven called a “palenque” with wood and charcoal. The cooking method for Mezcal gives it a smoky and earthy flavor that is not typically found in Tequila.

  3. Flavor: Tequila has a crisp and clean taste, while Mezcal is known for its complex and flavorful profile. Mezcal can have a smoky, herbal, or even fruity flavor, depending on the type of agave used and the production methods.

  4. Distillation: Both Tequila and Mezcal are distilled twice, but the second distillation for Mezcal is often done in clay or copper pots, while Tequila is typically distilled in stainless steel or copper stills.

  5. Serving: Tequila is often sipped straight or used in cocktails like Margaritas, while Mezcal is traditionally sipped straight and enjoyed as a sipping spirit or used in cocktails like the Mezcal Paloma.

Overall, while both Tequila and Mezcal are agave-based spirits, they have distinct differences in production, flavor, and serving.

Tequila & Mezcal

Introduction:

Tequila and Mezcal are two of the most popular distilled spirits in Mexico and have gained popularity all around the world. Both of these spirits are made from the agave plant, which is native to Mexico. However, they differ in terms of their production process, taste, and the regions where they are produced.

Tequila is a distilled spirit that is made from the blue Weber agave plant, which is primarily grown in the state of Jalisco and a few other states in Mexico. The production process involves steaming the agave plant in large ovens, which converts the starches into sugars. The sugars are then fermented and distilled to create Tequila. Tequila is typically consumed neat or in cocktails like Margarita, Paloma, and Tequila Sunrise.

On the other hand, Mezcal is made from any agave plant, including the blue Weber agave used in Tequila, but is primarily made from the agave Espadin. Mezcal is produced in various states in Mexico, with the largest production coming from Oaxaca. The production process involves roasting the agave plant in underground pits, which gives it a smoky flavor. The roasted agave is then crushed, fermented, and distilled to create Mezcal. Mezcal is typically consumed neat or in cocktails like Mezcal Mule, Oaxaca Old Fashioned, and Mezcal Margarita.

Tequila and Mezcal are both an essential part of Mexican culture and have become popular around the world due to their unique taste and versatility in cocktails.

History:

The history of Tequila and Mezcal can be traced back to the indigenous people of Mexico, who first discovered the agave plant and its many uses. The agave plant was used for food, clothing, and medicinal purposes. It was also used to make fermented drinks like pulque, which is made from the sap of the agave plant.

The production of Tequila can be traced back to the 16th century when Spanish conquistadors arrived in Mexico and introduced distillation techniques to the indigenous people. The first distillery for Tequila was established in the town of Tequila, located in the state of Jalisco, in the early 1600s. Tequila was originally known as Vino de Mezcal, which means “Mezcal wine.”

Mezcal, on the other hand, has a longer history and is believed to have been produced by the indigenous people of Mexico for over 400 years. The word Mezcal comes from the Aztec language, Nahuatl, which means “cooked agave.” Mezcal was produced and consumed primarily in the state of Oaxaca, where it remains a significant part of the cultural heritage.

Over the years, Tequila and Mezcal gained popularity not only in Mexico but also around the world. Today, both spirits have a significant presence in the global market, with various brands and styles available for consumers to choose from. They continue to be an important part of Mexican culture and are celebrated during festivals like Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and Cinco de Mayo.

Manufacturing process

The manufacturing process for Tequila and Mezcal differs slightly, although both spirits are made from the agave plant. Here is a brief overview of the production process for each:

Tequila:

  1. Harvesting: The blue Weber agave plants are harvested, and the leaves are stripped away, leaving only the piña (the core of the agave plant).
  2. Cooking: The piñas are placed in large ovens or autoclaves and steamed, converting the starches in the plant into sugars.
  3. Milling: The cooked piñas are then shredded or crushed to extract the juice.
  4. Fermentation: The juice is fermented with yeast to convert the sugars into alcohol.
  5. Distillation: The fermented juice is then double-distilled in copper pot stills to create Tequila.
  6. Aging (optional): Tequila can be aged in oak barrels for a certain period to add flavor and complexity.

Mezcal:

  1. Harvesting: The agave plant is harvested, and the leaves are stripped away, leaving only the piña.
  2. Roasting: The piñas are roasted in underground pits over hot rocks or wood, giving it a smoky flavor.
  3. Milling: The roasted piñas are crushed by a stone wheel or a mechanical mill to extract the juice.
  4. Fermentation: The juice is fermented with natural airborne yeast or added yeast to convert the sugars into alcohol.
  5. Distillation: The fermented juice is then distilled once in copper or clay pots to create Mezcal.
  6. Aging (optional): Mezcal can be aged in oak barrels or other wood types for a certain period to add flavor and complexity

Types:

There are several types of Tequila and Mezcal, each with its own unique flavor and characteristics. Here are some of the most common types:

Tequila:

  1. Blanco or Silver Tequila: Unaged Tequila that is bottled immediately after distillation, with a clear color and a strong agave flavor.
  2. Reposado Tequila: Aged in oak barrels for a minimum of two months, giving it a slightly golden color and a smooth taste.
  3. Añejo(old) Tequila: Aged in oak barrels for a minimum of one year, with a darker color and a complex, rich flavor.
  4. Extra Añejo Tequila: Aged in oak barrels for a minimum of three years, with a dark amber color and a smooth, velvety texture.

Mezcal:

  1. Blanco or Joven Mezcal: Unaged Mezcal, bottled immediately after distillation, with a clear color and a smoky, earthy flavor.
  2. Reposado Mezcal: Aged in oak barrels for a minimum of two months, with a slightly golden color and a smoother taste.
  3. Añejo Mezcal: Aged in oak barrels for a minimum of one year, with a darker color and a complex, rich flavor.
  4. Extra Añejo Mezcal: Aged in oak barrels for a minimum of three years, with a dark amber color and a smooth, velvety texture.

There are also some other types of Tequila and Mezcal, such as flavored or infused varieties, that are becoming increasingly popular. For example, flavored Tequila can be infused with fruit, herbs, or spices to create unique tastes and aromas. Some Mezcal producers also use different types of agave plants or unique production methods to create Mezcal with distinct flavors and aromas.

Categories of tequila:

Tequila is divided into two main categories: 100% agave Tequila and Tequila Mixto. Here is a brief overview of each category:

  1. 100% Agave Tequila: This type of Tequila is made exclusively from the fermented and distilled juices of the blue Weber agave plant. It is considered to be the highest quality Tequila and must be made from 100% agave by law. 100% agave Tequila can be bottled as Blanco, Reposado, Añejo, and Extra Añejo.

  2. Tequila Mixto: This type of Tequila is made from a blend of at least 51% agave juice and other sugars, usually from cane sugar. The other 49% can come from any fermentable sugar. Tequila Mixto can be bottled as Blanco, Oro, Reposado, and Añejo.

In addition to these categories, Tequila is also classified by the length of time it is aged in oak barrels:

  1. Blanco or Silver Tequila: Unaged Tequila that is bottled immediately after distillation, with a clear color and a strong agave flavor.
  2. Reposado Tequila: Aged in oak barrels for a minimum of two months, giving it a slightly golden color and a smooth taste.
  3. Añejo Tequila: Aged in oak barrels for a minimum of one year, with a darker color and a complex, rich flavor.
  4. Extra Añejo Tequila: Aged in oak barrels for a minimum of three years, with a dark amber color and a smooth, velvety texture.

It is important to note that, by law, Tequila can only be produced in specific regions of Mexico, including Jalisco, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas.

Popular Brands:

There are many popular brands of Tequila and Mezcal available, each with its own unique flavor and characteristics. Here are some of the most well-known brands:

Tequila:

  1. Patron Tequila
  2. Don Julio Tequila
  3. Jose Cuervo Tequila
  4. Herradura Tequila
  5. Sauza Tequila
  6. Casamigos Tequila
  7. Avion Tequila
  8. Milagro Tequila
  9. El Jimador Tequila
  10. Cazares Tequila

Mezcal:

  1. Del Maguey Mezcal
  2. Ilegal Mezcal
  3. El Silencio Mezcal
  4. Mezcal Vago
  5. Los Nahuales Mezcal
  6. Wahaka Mezcal
  7. Montelobos Mezcal
  8. Fidencio Mezcal
  9. Mezcal Amores
  10. Pierde Almas Mezcal

Traditional way of drinking tequila:

Traditionally, Tequila is often enjoyed in a long drink called a Paloma. Here’s how to make a Paloma:

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. Tequila
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • Grapefruit soda (such as Squirt or Jarritos), or grapefruit juice and soda water
  • Ice
  • Grapefruit wedge, for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Fill a highball glass with ice.
  2. Add the Tequila, lime juice, and salt, and stir gently to combine.
  3. Top with grapefruit soda or a combination of grapefruit juice and soda water.
  4. Stir gently to combine.
  5. Garnish with a grapefruit wedge and serve.

Palomas are a refreshing and easy way to enjoy Tequila, and the grapefruit flavor complements the Tequila nicely. If you don’t have grapefruit soda, you can also use lemon-lime soda, ginger ale, or tonic water. And if you prefer a sweeter drink, you can add a splash of simple syrup or agave nectar to the mix.

Mezcal: Traditional way of drinking mezcal:

Mezcal is traditionally sipped straight, but it can also be used to make a refreshing cocktail. One popular long drink made with Mezcal is the Mezcal Paloma. Here’s how to make it:

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. Mezcal
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • Grapefruit soda (such as Squirt or Jarritos), or grapefruit juice and soda water
  • Ice
  • Grapefruit wedge, for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Fill a highball glass with ice.
  2. Add the Mezcal, lime juice, and salt, and stir gently to combine.
  3. Top with grapefruit soda or a combination of grapefruit juice and soda water.
  4. Stir gently to combine.
  5. Garnish with a grapefruit wedge and serve.

This is a simple and refreshing way to enjoy the smoky flavor of Mezcal, with the tartness of lime and the sweetness of grapefruit. If you prefer a sweeter drink, you can add a splash of simple syrup or agave nectar to the mix. You can also experiment with different types of grapefruit soda or juice to find the flavor you like best.

Different between tequila and mezcal.

Different between tequila and mezcal in table forms:

 TequilaMezcal
OriginJalisco and some parts of MexicoOaxaca and some parts of Mexico
Type of agaveBlue Weber agaveVarious types of agave, including Espadín
ProductionCan only be made from blue agaveCan be made from different types of agave
Cooking methodCooked in an oven or autoclaveCooked in a pit oven with wood and charcoal
SmokinessUsually not smokyOften smoky and earthy
TasteCrisp and cleanComplex and flavorful
ServingOften sipped straight or in shotsSipped straight or in cocktails

 

Different between tequila and mezcal
Tequila and Mezcal are both distilled spirits made from the agave plant, but there are some key differences between the two.
  1. Production: Tequila can only be made from blue Weber agave, whereas Mezcal can be made from a variety of agave plants, including Espadín, Tobol, and Tepeztate. Tequila is also limited to a specific region of Mexico, whereas Mezcal is produced in several states, but most notably in Oaxaca.

  2. Cooking method: Tequila is typically cooked in an oven or an autoclave, while Mezcal is cooked in an underground pit oven called a “Palenque” with wood and charcoal. The cooking method for Mezcal gives it a smoky and earthy flavor that is not typically found in Tequila.

  3. Flavor: Tequila has a crisp and clean taste, while Mezcal is known for its complex and flavorful profile. Mezcal can have a smoky, herbal, or even fruity flavor, depending on the type of agave used and the production methods.

  4. Distillation: Both Tequila and Mezcal are distilled twice, but the second distillation for Mezcal is often done in clay or copper pots, while Tequila is typically distilled in stainless steel or copper stills.

  5. Serving: Tequila is often sipped straight or used in cocktails like Margaritas, while Mezcal is traditionally sipped straight and enjoyed as a sipping spirit or used in cocktails like the Mezcal Paloma.

 

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