From Whiskey to Oaxaca: Mezcal Recommendations for Whiskey Lovers

April 29, 2018

Whiskey is a beautiful thing, but there are other products just as lovely to sip on. Many of you are “omni-spiritual,” and enjoy the cornucopia of offerings among all spirits. However, there may be a few of you who are seasoned whiskey drinkers but have yet to really dip your toes into other pools. If you’re not used to it, agave (tequila/mezcal) might be one of the hardest transitions to wrap your head around. Don’t fret. We’ve got you covered with some mezcal recommendations with your preferred whiskeys in mind.

Not a fan of tequila? Give it another try

If you’re one of those people who had that “bad night in college” with tequila or mezcal and haven’t been able to drink it since, chances are good that stuff was bad, and you were probably shooting it with lime and salt to mask its roughness, further souring your stomach.

If you haven’t tasted agave spirits in a while, there’s a lot for a whiskey drinker to love, but the choices can be overwhelming. Please, leave the limes and salt shooters for the amateurs! Sip these neat or with a rock or two of ice as you would whiskey.

For Bourbon Drinkers:

The second life of a once-used bourbon barrel is not relegated to Scotland. There’s plenty to go around, and tequila and mezcal producers are among the many spirits that use them too. Agave spirits like tequila and mezcal age much more rapidly in the barrel than whiskey due to its geographic location for maturation. As such, the time in barrel is significantly shorter. Reposados are aged a minimum of 2 months and up to one year in oak, añejo for a minimum of a year and usually longer. Here are some tequilas to try that will have some familiar bourbon characteristics, having been aged in former whiskey barrels.

Tequila Tapatio Excelencia Gran Reserva
Suerte Añejo Tequila
Casamigos Añejo
*A rare find but worth seeking out – Expreciones Del Corazón Old Rip Van Winkle Añejo

Tequila recommendations for whiskey drinkers

For Non-smoky Scotch drinkers:

These tequila añejo selections have that smooth-sipping, rich, rounded quality similar in character to a Speyside or Highland malt.

Miel de Tierra Reposado
Milagro Select Barrel Reserve Añejo
Casa Noble Single Barrel Reposado

For Those Who Like a Touch of Smoke:

Like barley is sometimes dried with peat, agave for mezcal is typically smoked while cooked before fermentation. Mezcal has different levels of smokiness, sometimes subtle, sweet and barbecue-like, sometimes more robust and rustic. Here are a few that are on the slightly sweet-smoky bent to get you started.

Don Amado Mezcal Añejo
Mezcal Gracias a Dios Espadín Reposado
Los Amantes Reposado Mezcal

For Peat Lovers:

If you’re drawn to peaty whiskey, then these mezcals might be a fun thing to add to your sipping repertoire:

Ilegal Añejo Mezcal
Agave de Cortés Añejo Mezcal
Montelobos Mezcal


Dipping a toe into the world of mezcal?

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