When you think of Mexican liquor, the first thing that comes to mind is Tequila. While Tequila is wildly popular, Mexico actually produces quite a few different types of liquor. While each of these liquors are slightly different, they all have one common theme…. the agave plant. The agave plant was revered as one of the most sacred plants in pre-Spanish Mexico. Now it’s commonly used to produce some of Mexico’s finest spirits.
Types of Mexican Liquor:
Tequila– This is Mexico’s most recognized liquor. In order for it to be labeled tequila, it must come from the blue agave plant and be produced in one of Mexico’s five states (Jalisco, Tamaulipas, Nayarit, Michoacan or Guanajuato.) Also, if you see a label that just says tequila, it means it’s mixto (made with 51% blue agave and cane sugars.) 100% pure tequila will be made with 100% blue agave.
Mezcal– Mezcals can only be produced in Oaxaca, Guerrero, Durango, Luis Potosi and Zacatecas. Mezcals differ from Tequilas as they can be made from any type of agave plant. Additionally their flavor profiles are smoky, as the piña is smoldered for a few days during the production process. Mezcal also contains the vaunted worm, although most quality Mezcals will not have one.
Raicilla– Raicilla is named after the only region in Mexico that is allowed to produce it. It has the same profile and makeup of Mezcal and can use any type of agave plant.
Bacanora– Bacanora is a relatively new type of liquor, as production for it was legalized in the 1990’s. Bacanora can only be produced in Sonora and it comes from a 7 to 10 year old Agave Angustifolia plant. The flavor profile is an earthy and slightly smoky flavor.
Sotol– Sotol is the traditional spirit of Chihuahua, and comes from the Sotol plant (a type of agave plant from that region.) It is similar to a Mezcal, but is double-distilled. The flavor profile is slightly herbal and smoky. Many people mix Sotol with agave sweetener, fresh herbs or fruit.
Pulque- Pulque was Mexico’s first liquor dating back to 200AD. Pulque is produced from the sap of the heart of the agave, and is fermented. This produces a milky like appearance that is sweet in flavor. It is honestly closer to an agave like beer vs. a potent liquor…. but this is the drink that started it all!
Gusano Rojo Mezcal