Ask the bartender: what is Mezcal?

Melanie Symonds, owner of 184 Hackney Road and Quiquiriqui mezcal bar, shares her expert knowledge about tequila’s smoky older brother.

Mezcal is the older brother of tequila and is different to it for three reasons: the agave used in its production, the region it’s made in, and the process used to make it. Unlike tequila (which is only made with Blue Weber agave), mezcal is made with all sorts of agave, the most common of which is Agave Espadin (genetic mother of the Blue Weber).


All artisan or traditionally made mezcals will have a sweet, roasted, earthy or smoky flavour. Traditionally drunk neat with a side of orange wedges and chilli worm salt, it’s perfect on its own, with a beer or in a cocktail. Think of it like a fine whisky: sip and enjoy, don’t shoot!


Melanie Symonds is the owner of 184 Hackney Road and Quiquiriqui Mezcals