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Is Mezcal Right for Your Margaritas?

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As a Parrothead, you've likely done your fair share of traveling to tropical beaches. While you visit these perfect sandy spots, you've likely taken a detour or two to the bar. When you were in Mexico, Southern California or a number of other scenic beach spots throughout North America you may have tried a cocktail with mezcal in it. 

What is mezcal?  
Mezcal is a type of liquor that's made from the agave plant, just like tequila. However, while tequila can have that clean smooth taste, mezcal is better known for its smokier, more complex flavor. You can even think of mezcal as a "smoky tequila" in some ways. 

"Mezcal is broadly available for vacation flavor at home."

One reason for this difference in flavor is that the two liquors are made differently. Tequila, which is technically a type of mezcal, is made from the fruit of blue agave plants in large factories. Mezcal, however, can be distilled from a variety of the dozens of other types of agave there are and is typically made in smaller distilleries. 

Although mezcal is known for its small scale beginnings, it has emerged as a popular spirit all over the U.S. So you can get that vacation flavor at your local liquor store. 

Can you use mezcal in a margarita? 
You can absolutely make a margarita with mezcal. Keep that classic margarita taste, but switch out tequila for this smoky relative. Here's a simple recipe to recreate the unique vacation cocktail taste at home in your margarita maker

  • 4.5 ounces or 3 shots mezcal 
  • 1.5 triple sec
  • 3 ounces fresh-squeezed lime juice 
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar 
  • 1 pinch of salt 
  • Ice.  

Pour your mezcal, juice, liqueur, nectar and salt into your frozen concoction maker's blender jar. Place the jar in its position and fill the ice reservoir. Then just hit the switch and watch your party machine do the rest. Once it's done making you a perfectly blended drink, pour into a margarita glass with a salt rim and a lime wedge garnish. Enjoy this interesting take on the margarita with your friends. 

Add mezcal to your home bar, right next to your margarita maker. Add mezcal to your home bar, right next to your margarita maker.

Other mezcal cocktails 
If you like the taste of mezcal, try one of these other frozen mezcal drinks: 

  • Spicy Margarita: Break out your cayenne salt, pepper liqueur and fresh-cut jalapenos. Mezcal's smoky flavor goes great with a spicy cocktail. 
  • Sparkle and Citrus: Use grapefruit juice, seltzer, real oranges and liqueur along with mezcal for a bold frozen drink that you can enjoy all summer long. 
  • Scotch, No Soda: Mezcal is often compared to scotch because of the smoky hints that characterize these regional liquors. Try mixing some mezcal with a small amount of scotch, ginger, agave nectar and ice. You'll get a unique frosty cocktail you'll want to drink slowly. 
  • Bright and Bold Berries: Mezcal may complement fruity drinks the most. Add some mezcal along with blackberry liqueur, fresh berry juice, mixed berry juice and a sprig or mint for a garnish.