While tequila is blue-blood, dancing in the limelight, Mezcal is the dusky cousin who’s having a better party in the smoky basement. Both liquors come from the same Agavaceae family of plants, but tequila is exclusively from blue agave, while mezcal can come from any one of the maguey plants.

Mezcal reminds me of grappa. It’s made old school style in small batches, it can be throat ripping fire, or nuanced liquid smoke. It can be clear, or it can be aged in oak to give it a softness and golden color. There’s a little tickle at the back of the throat that smells and tastes like grappa, but they are very different flavor experiences.

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