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The 10 Best Mezcal Margaritas

The year is 1938 and Marjorie King walks into Carlos ‘Danny’ Herrera’s restaurant Rancho La Gloria. Herrera is also the chief bartender at his restaurant which is why King approaches him with her somewhat peculiar cocktail request - she is allergic to spirits, all but tequila. 

And that is how the margarita came into existence! The cocktail traditionally contains three ingredients: Lime juice, orange liqueur, and tequila. 

The year is now 2021 and margaritas have made it onto the International Bartenders Association (IBA)’s list of alcoholic drinks. Thereby giving margaritas an ‘official’ definition.

Between 1938 and 2021, not much has changed for margaritas - frankly, there isn't much to change in a three-ingredient drink anyway. However, bartenders and margarita enthusiasts have discovered an alternative to tequila that doesn't take away from the flavor of the drink, but rather enhances it. 

This is done so by creating a Mezcal drink variant of the traditional alcoholic beverage.

What is Mezcal?

Mezcal is a distilled alcoholic drink made from any sort of agave. It is important to understand that tequila is a type of mezcal, but mezcal isn’t a sort of tequila. To simplify, tequila is made from blue agave. Which is a type of agave. Whereas a mezcal can be made from any type of agave.

It might seem confusing which is why it's easier to think of mezcal as a smoky cousin of tequila. The main difference between the two drinks comes from the fact that mezcal is produced by burying the agave in a pit with hot rocks and smoking it. Tequila, on the other hand, is made by baking blue agave in a stone oven. 

The difference in production is what accounts for the smokey flavor in a mezcal. This flavor packs a bigger punch than tequila, which makes it a stronger drink in terms of taste, but with the same alcohol content. 

Mezcal, as is tequila, is produced primarily in the Oaxaca state in Mexico. The drink is popular there that the government has been holding an annual Mezcal Festival since 1997. 

Why Are Mezcals Suddenly Becoming Popular?

You wouldn't typically hear someone order a Mezcal at a bar. However, that's usually in the United States. In Mexico and other countries in the Americas, Mezcal is a very popular drink. 

Tequila is usually a staple in bars in the United States and not many people are looking towards changing that. However, not only are mezcals stronger, but they can also be paired up nicely with several pairings and incorporated in margaritas to give a lot more flavor.

Mezcal Margaritas - Top Ten Variants

  1. Mezcal Margarita on the rocks
  2. Mezcal Margarita paired with strawberries (or other citrus fruits)
  3. Boozy Mezcal Cadillac Margarita
  4. Light Mezcal Margarita (usually frozen)
  5. Mezcal Margarita made spicier with jalapenos
  6. Mezcal Margarita served with beer 
  7. Watermelon Mezcal Margarita to balance out the smokey flavor
  8. Half Tequila and half Mezcal Margarita
  9. Mezcal Margarita with cilantro
  10. Maple pairing with Mezcal Margarita

Conclusion

Mezcal margaritas are slowly gaining the popularity that they so rightly deserve. The drink is similar in taste to tequila, albeit smokier and therefore stronger. If you love your traditional margarita, you’ll love one with Mezcal a whole lot more.


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