Chances are, if you’re reading this, then you’re probably looking for the best mezcal.
Before starting my journey into mezcals, I knew next to nothing about them. Now I can confidently say that they have stolen my heart, and I have a newfound appreciation for them.
Whether you like rich, smoky, floral, light, delicate, spicy, or earthy flavors, or have no clue what you’re looking for in a mezcal, I’m sure I have the perfect drink lined up just for you.
Sit back, relax, and pour yourself a glass, because we’re about to explore the thirteen best mezcals to sip.
Del Maguey Chichicapa Mezcal
Del Maguey Chichicapa Mezcal presents a complex flavor profile with a medium nose and deep citrus undertones.
This drink offers smooth sipping that ends with a drawn-out hint of mint. The smokiness adds richness and bolsters the other flavors for a divinely robust experience.
Del Maguey’s Chichicapa comes from the village of San Baltazar Chichicapa. It uses sweet agave, toasted corn, dried fruits, almonds, and mint.
I particularly like this one for its long finish of complex flavors. It’s very smooth and doesn’t have an overwhelmingly smoky flavor. It’s light yet rich.
Montelobos Espadín Joven
Montelobos Espadín Joven is a versatile drink with a little bit of everything.
It offers a slightly sweet, slightly smoky base, with herbal, nutty, and salty mid-tones, all capped off with a richly earthy nose.
This drink uses organically cultivated Espadin agave and a natural open-air fermenting process.
It’s smooth and has a taste balanced between green and cooked maguey. There are notes of citrus, honey, and asparagus.
I like this drink on the rocks, in Paloma, or topping a margarita. It’s less pricey than other mezcals but still offers a unique and full-bodied experience.
Ilegal Mezcal Joven
Ilegal Mezcal Joven is a sweet and spicy delight.
The nose is bold and fresh with eucalyptus, mineral aromas, green apple, citrus, and red chiltepe.
The flavor is similarly bright and offers lingering heat that makes it ideal for slow sipping or cocktails.
This drink is un-aged and crystal clear. I love the spiciness to it. It adds a whole new dimension to the experience that sticks with you for a while.
It is also very affordable for the quality and comes in two sizes for the committed and occasional drinker.
Rey Campero Tepextate
Rey Campero Tepextate is a delicate and fruity mezcal, with a green and floral nose that hints at notes of basil, jalapeno, cinnamon, and mint.
The taste is sweet and fruity with vegetal and spicy undertones. It has tropical and berry-like robustness and a bold white pepper finish.
I enjoy this mezcal alongside spicy and salty dishes. It lends itself well to sipping if you’re looking for something less complex yet spicy. It is on the more expensive side, as well.
It’s not as smooth as other drinks, but it’s a favorite among those who enjoy less refined and more vegetal flavors.
Banhez Mezcal is a mixed agave drink comprised of 90% Espadin and 10% Barril.
It offers a delicate blend of floral and fruity flavors with strong notes of pineapple and banana. There are accents of black pepper and smoke in the aftertaste but it shines with its herbaceous and tropical flavors.
I’ve seen this mezcal toted as a good beginner drink, and indeed it is the first mezcal I tried. I like its delicate tones and smooth, almost creamy texture.
It’s one of the cheaper mezcals, and I highly recommend it if you are new to mezcals.
Bozal Ensamble Mezcal
Bozal Ensamble Mezcal is an Oxaxaca favorite.
It has rich, earthy tones that bring to life the flavors of white citrus and herbaceous florals. The body is smooth and easy to sip while the lingering taste exudes a warm smokiness.
You may have already found this mezcal in the wild. It has risen to popularity recently as an affordable and agreeable drink.
While mezcal aficionados may find it too ‘wild’ or ‘rustic’, it’s an excellent pick for casual drinkers. I’m not as big a fan of the extra smokiness of this drink, but if you like the charred taste, then this will be a sure winner for you.
Derrumbes San Luis Potosí
Derrumbes San Luis Potosí is another affordable mezcal with a unique twist.
The flavor of this drink is extraordinarily green. It has notes of jalapeno, wild agave, sour fruit, and sweet smoke. The nose is powerful and rich, like a campfire and sweet and spicy fruits.
It’s smooth sipping and finishes with a creamy and fruity tang topped with pepper and spice.
I am quite a fan of this mezcal. I like the mix of sweet, sour, and spicy quite a bit and enjoy languidly sipping it. The jalapeno taste is strong, and the overall flavor is very green.
Drinking this mezcal always feels like a special occasion.
El Silencio Espadin
El Silencio Espadin is all about intensity and richness.
It has strong agave and smoky flavors with an earthy and hearty nose and spicy undertones.
This low-cost mezcal is incredibly smoky tasting. I don’t mind the flavor, but I find it works best mixed into cocktails and margaritas.
It lacks some of the complexity of other mezcals and makes for an overall less complex taste profile. Each sip is rich and deep, and it works well as a mixer.
It has a slightly more refined taste than some of the wild or rustic drinks.
Del Maguey Vida
Del Maguey Vida is everything you need if you are looking for something soft and spicy.
It uses naturally fermented Espadin agave and has a nose full of tropical fruit, honey, ginger, cinnamon, and tangerine.
The flavor is extremely and deeply smoky with a gentle cap of tropical fruits, ginger, and cinnamon.
This drink is nice to sip or mix and works well for casual drinkers. I like the aromatic elements a lot and enjoy how the flavor is rich and deep without feeling overly complex.
It’s one of the smokiest mezcals I’ve had so I do prefer it mixed, but the occasional glass to sip is always welcome.
El Jolgorio Madrecuixe
El Jolgorio Madrecuixe is a very interesting mezcal.
It has notes of watermelon, potatoes, cherries, cucumber, pancetta, papaya, lemon, herbs, and sugar.
Each batch is made with 12-year aged wild agave and crafted by hand by generational experts. The price tag is unsurprisingly high.
For all of the bizarre combinations of tones, the overall aroma comes out rather grassy and floral. My first thoughts upon opening a bottle were of mint, roses, and dewy grass.
The flavor is equally complex and offers a sweet yet deep flavor that remains gentle and smooth. It’s worth the price at least once.
Convite Mezcal Coyote
Convite Mezcal Coyote is at the top of the list when it comes to rustic and wild flavors.
It has subtle undertones of fruit and flower, especially in the finish, but the nose and taste are bitter, harsh, and smoky. It’s a very strong flavor with lots of the aging and cooking process shining through.
Like other aged mezcals, it’s quite pricey and packs quite the punch.
It’s too bitter a drink for my tastes, but I can see how others would love the scents of hay and leather and the blast of smokiness that fades into soft florals.
Mezcal Rey Campero Tepextate
Mezcal Rey Campero Tepextate is a well-balanced experience that sits in the middle of most extremes.
It has a medium smokiness, a little bit of spice, and a complex flavor that is both sweet and green.
This drink has a lot of mixed tastes of fruit and vegetal flavors with just the right amount of spiciness. The price is pretty high, but I think it’s worth it.
I like the lightness of this drink and how it doesn’t take away from the complexity and the depth of flavors. It’s one of the best mezcals for sipping.
Vamonos Riendo Ensamble Mezcal
Vamonos Riendo Ensamble Mezcal offers perhaps the best value for the price.
It is on the lower end cost-wise, yet delivers an experience like no other. The flavor is light and fruity. It tastes fresh and has markedly less smokiness than other mezcals.
The nose is sweet and airy like pastries and fruit. There are a lot of citruses, and the flavor is expansive while remaining smooth and airy.
This is hands-down my favorite mezcal. Everything from the bottle to the scent is alluring, and I love how subtle the smokiness is.
It’s not overly sweet like other drinks and doesn’t have the same bitterness as other mezcals.
13 Best Mezcals
- Del Maguey Chichicapa Mezcal
- Montelobos Espadín Joven
- Ilegal Mezcal Joven
- Rey Campero Tepextate
- Banhez Mezcal
- Bozal Ensamble Mezcal
- Derrumbes San Luis Potosí
- El Silencio Espadin
- Del Maguey Vida
- El Jolgorio Madrecuixe
- Convite Mezcal Coyote
- Mezcal Rey Campero Tepextate
- Vamonos Riendo Ensamble Mezcal
What Is Mezcal?
Mezcal is often called “mezcal tequila”, which is a bit of a misleading term as all tequila is mezcal, but not all mezcal is tequila.
Much like champagne or parmesan cheese, proper tequila requires specific techniques and is unique to one area. Mezcal is a bit like the generic brand of tequila.
There are three major differences between mezcal and tequila. The first is location.
While either can technically be made anywhere, tequila is traditionally from the city of tequila, hence the name. Mezcal has come to be associated with Oaxaca.
This difference in location is due to the second major factor: the source material. Both tequila and mezcal are crafted from the agave plant, but where tequila only comes from blue agave (as it is what grows around Tequila), mezcal can be made from a variety of species.
The final major difference between mezcal and tequila is the process. For tequila, the blue agave is either baked or steamed, then fermented, before being distilled in a copper pot one to three times. For mezcal, the agave is roasted in a wood fire pit and distilled through clay pots.
The final result is a surprising difference in flavor profiles. Tequila is herbal and sharp. Some varieties have a lot of added sugars and flavors to make them sweet.
Mezcal is smokey or even charred tasting with earthier undertones but can have floral, and fruit notes depending on the agave used.
The sheer variety of each mezcal on this list warrants trying them all. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to taste each of these drinks.
My favorite was the Vamonos Riendo Ensamble Mezcal for its subtleness and delicacy, but I also really enjoyed the Del Maguey Chichicapa Mezcal and Mezcal Rey Campero Tepextate.
Whether you prefer a deep, smoky flavor or one more light and fruity, there are mezcals out there that are sure to satisfy you.
Additionally, you can rest assured that you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars to find a good mezcal. Some of the best ones have low price tags.
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