No, Mezcal is Not Just a Smoky Tequila – Debunking Mezcal Myths for National Mezcal Day

For anyone who has said “Mezcal is Tequila’s smoky cousin,” Ilegal Mezcal, the handcrafted Mexican spirit with a legendary history, is here to dispel myths about the diverse spirit in honor of National Mezcal Day, October 21st.

Myth 1: All Mezcal is smoky

  • Smokiness is not a virtue of mezcal – the level of smoke is highly dependent on the individual producers. The amount of resin in the wood greatly impacts how much smoke it emits once burned. So, when utilized in production, certain types of wood will infuse more smoke into the liquid than others. Ilegal chooses to honor the Mezcaleros’ tradition and create an agave-forward product with a light kiss of smoke. 

Myth 2: The Mezcal Boom is hurting agave

  • If you’ve heard the agave spirits boom is leading to overharvesting of agave, not all plants are at risk – this is specific to wild agave. Ilegal utilizes 100% sustainable Espadin agave to ensure the land from which its mezcal comes from is cared for.
  • Growth within the agave spirits category has produced ample employment and economic growth opportunities for many community members in cities such as Oaxaca and Jalisco. Ilegal’s dedication to growing horizontally, not vertically, has allowed the brand to hire more local employees – and expand while remaining artisanal.
  • In order to protect the agave and avoid having plants that are too genetically similar, Ilegal’s agave is planted using both seeds and rhizomes. this helps promote the strength of the agave against illnesses.

Myth 3: Real Mezcal is never aged

  • Joven is not the only Mezcal variety! Mezcals have been aged in wood barrels, glass demijohns, and clay canteros since the 1700s. Back then, most of the wood barrels arrived from Spain carrying wine, which were later used for mezcal. Today, most small mezcal distillers produce a small amount of barrel or glass-aged mezcal and It’s usually reserved for special occasions. Ilegal honors this tradition by aging its Reposado and Añejo in oak barrels, which impart rich flavors on the liquid.

Myth 4: Mezcal must be sipped out of Copita

  • Mezcal is a communal spirit and as such is best enjoyed with no rules attached. An original school of thought declared that mezcal should be sipped on its own and not in cocktails, but modern menus and taste preferences beg to differ.

With mezcal drinks popping up on cocktail menus across the country, it’s clear that the complexity of mezcal should be enjoyed in any way it’s desired – cocktails and aged varieties included. Spice it up and do things the Ilegal way this National Mezcal Day by sharing a Mezcal Margarita with those you care about most. Ilegal’s is made using real ingredients such as the Joven Mezcal, fresh lime, and agave nectar. 

Ilegal Mezcal Margarita 


  • 2 ounces Ilegal Mezcal Joven
  • 1 ounce Lime Juice 
  • 1/2 ounce Agave Nectar 


  1. Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice. Shake.
  2. Dump the contents into a rocks glass with a pre-salted rim. 

Or buy an Ilegal Mezcal Margarita Kit and follow instructions for the perfect margarita. 

About Ilegal Mezcal 

Ilegal is beautifully balanced mezcal with a notorious history that includes smuggling and weeklong parties in Café No Sé, a clandestine bar and music hub. Handcrafted in small batches by fourth-generation mezcaleros, our Joven, Reposado, and Añejo mezcals are all made with perfectly ripe, sustainable Espadín agave, double distilled in the Santiago Matatlan Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico. Commitment to quality is apparent in every step of our process, from harvest to first sip.

One thought on “No, Mezcal is Not Just a Smoky Tequila – Debunking Mezcal Myths for National Mezcal Day

  1. “Mezcal is not any ordinary drink. It’s made from the agave plant and has a lot more flavor than smoky.
    Article debunking mezcal myths is just perfect. Try some mezcal cocktails to know more about its flavors.

    Thank you for the blog, waiting for more mezcal cocktail recipes.”

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