Swap The Tequila In Your Next Cocktail With Mezcal For A Smoky Twist

As much as we love a refreshing tequila cocktail, sometimes sticking to the classics gets boring. If you're looking for a unique way to jazz up a classic tequila drink, try using mezcal instead.

Both mezcal and tequila are made from fermented agave – a succulent plant native to Mexico. But unlike the sharp, clean flavor of tequila, mezcal is known for its distinctive smoky flavor. This campfire-like aroma and taste impart a hearty depth and complexity to cocktails typically made with tequila. While it's not great for chugging and quick drinking, mezcal makes for a sophisticated cocktail.

Mezcal often exhibits earthy and herbal undertones that can complement a variety of ingredients in cocktails. These floral flavors are especially intriguing when combined with other herbal or botanical elements, creating a more complex and layered taste. Since it is typically produced in smaller batches using timeless, traditional methods, switching to mezcal in a cocktail can add an element of craftsmanship and uniqueness to the drink, appealing to those who appreciate artisanal, handcrafted spirits. Plus, fiery flavors are just fun to experiment with!

Mezcal cocktail ideas to try at home

Incorporating mezcal into your cocktail repertoire opens up a world of exciting possibilities. If you don't know where to start, don't fret, we've got you covered. If you want something familiar, give a classic margarita a smoky twist by substituting tequila with mezcal. Combine mezcal, freshly squeezed lime juice, orange liqueur, and a touch of agave syrup over ice for a refreshing margarita with a little extra warmth — the mezcalita, if you will. One bartender on TikTok made a "mezcal smash" by combining mezcal, Aperol, freshly squeezed lime and grapefruit juice, and agave syrup over ice for a summery libation that's boosted with muddled basil leaves for a blossomy punch.


Enough smoke with your citrus in this lovely basil tinged cocktail to keep things interesting. Inspired by @like•a•ble cocktails Kaitlyn Stewart #mezcal #cocktail #smash

♬ Feel Good Inc. – Gorillaz

Not interested in either option? Add some fire to the traditional Moscow mule by using mezcal as the base spirit. Mix mezcal with freshly squeezed lime juice, ginger beer, and a dash of spicy chile syrup for a spicy, smoky, and sophisticated cocktail. Whatever you choose to drink — you'll get the best results when using a high-quality mezcal. A good mezcal is made with 100% agave and typically has a high-proof alcohol content. If your mezcal smells more like rubbing alcohol than sweet agave — it's low quality.