Tequila, Mezcal and Raicilla

Tequila is a distilled spirit made from the fermented sugars of the heart (or Pina) of the Blue Agave Plant. Blue Agave takes between six and eight years to mature at which point they are harvest by the Jimador. The heart of the agave is cooked and then crushed to extract the sugars. The sugars are fermented into alcohol and distilled twice to give an alcohol percentage between 31 and 55 percent, most commonly between 38-40 percent. Tequila has a designation of origin the same as Champagne or Cognac and therefore can only be produced in a few select regions in Mexico.
 
Whilst Tequila is a type of Mezcal, Mezcal is not necessarily Tequila. Mezcal differs in a number of ways, the most notable differences are; it can be produced in eight different regions across Mexico, it can be made from any variety of agave (there are over 200 species of agave, 40 of which are used to make Mezcal) and finally it is most commonly produced by cooking the agaves in an underground pit which gives Mezcal a smoky and mineral flavour. Majority of Mezcal is made from the agave species Espadin and is produced in Oaxaca however there are many types of wild agave Mezcals made across many regions that gives Mezcal a very extensive diversity.
 
Raicilla is produced in the state of Jalisco which holds a denomination of origin for Tequila however, raicilla is not produced using Blue Agave but varieties endemic to the state called Agave Lechuguilla and Agave Pata de Mula or Maximiliana. Unlike Tequila or Mezcal, Raicilla does not have a denomination of origin however, since 1997 there has been an organisation to protect production and establish a Mexican Council of Raicilla Promoters.

Angus Hume

Australia

Senior Graphic Designer