A quick guide to the difference between the three cousin spirits of Mexico: Tequila, mezcal, and raicilla.
The Differences of Tequila, Mezcal & Raicilla
While Tequila is perhaps the most famous Mexican distilled spirit, it has two close cousins – mezcal and raicilla – that you should sample during your Puerto Vallarta vacation. Here is a quick learner’s guide to the differences between each spirit.
The most well-known, this spirit is made exclusively with the Blue Agave plant and to be called Tequila, it must be produced in our own state of Jalisco, in the Tequila region – much like how true Champagne must come from the Champagne region of France. Tequila comes in 5 distinct categories according to the amount of time it has been aged in oak barrels:
- Blanco or Silver Tequila (unaged)
- Joven or Gold Tequila (unaged)
- Reposado Tequila (aged two months and up to a year)
- Añejo Tequila (aged at least one year)
- Extra Añejo Tequila (aged at least three years)
Like Tequila, mezcal is also an agave-based spirit but can be distilled using a variety of up to thirty different agave plants and it is produced in several areas including Jalisco, Oaxaca, Guerrero, Durango, San Luis Potosí, Puebla and Zacatecas. Like Tequila, a Joven, mezcal has been unaged and a reposado mezcal will have been aged in oak barrels for two months to a year. However, some upscale mezcals can be aged for many years, giving the spirit a richer, deeper smoky flavor.
Like Tequila, raicilla is also a product of Jalisco but is distilled from two varieties of agave plants: Lechuguilla and Maximiliana. Raicilla was a bootleg liquor for generations in Jalisco, only becoming legal for sale in the 2000s, but with a sweeter and fruitier taste than mezcal, it has become increasingly popular with mixologists around the world.
The expert bartenders at Pinnacle Resorts can give you a personalized experience with all these spirits of Mexico and show you the proper techniques to drink them neat or create the perfect cocktail for your tastes. Be sure to visit Chictini by Pinnacle, Signature Lounge, or Residences Sky Bar during your next vacation in Puerto Vallarta.
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