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Spirits 101

Everything you need to know about tequila & mezcal

Become fluent in all things tequila and mezcal. From blanco to añejo to mezcal, there's something for every palate.

This content is powered by: VinePairWords: Eric Twardzik
Danielle Grinberg
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It may sometimes feel as if you need Spanish fluency to decipher a tequila menu, especially when terms like blanco, añejo and reposado start to pop up. Getting tongue tied is no reason to give up on the diverse and rewarding category of agave spirits, which includes tequila, as well as its smokier cousin, mezcal. Let us break down this agave spirit lineup and help you figure out the best for your palate.

Flavor profiles of blanco, reposado, añejo & mezcal

The general rule of thumb: when a spirit is unaged, it expresses the flavors of its ingredients. When it is aged, it takes on some of the flavors of its aging container.


Mezcal has a different flavor profile from tequila, most typically characterized by smoke. If you’re the type of drinker who pulls for peated scotch, you may enjoy mezcal neat. Those who enjoy the smoke as more of an accent flavor might wish to contrast that quality with bright citrus juice or a sweet liqueur.

How it's made

Distilled from agave plants that have been roasted underground in specially prepared pits prior to distillation.


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