To me, the easiest way to explain the relationship of tequila and mezcal is that old thing your high school geometry teacher used to say about quadrilaterals and squares: all tequilas are mezcals but not all mezcals are tequilas. Actually there's bacanora, sotol, raicilla and the more common mezcal de Oaxaca too. So, what's the difference?
To boil it down, it's all a matter of where and from what agave species (or succulent in the case of sotol) the liquor is made. However, if you're interested in tasting the difference, Agave Fest at Hotel Congress is the event for you—and trust me, even beginners in the spirits tasting game can taste the variety in the wide world of mezcal.
The event, which kicks off at 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 2, will feature over 50 different agave distillates, some of which are currently not available in the U.S., with seminars from leading mezcal expert Sergio Inurrigaro. Vox Urbana will be performing to entertain your tequila-soaked brain. If you need to sop up some of that delicious agave booze, the Cup Cafe will have a taco and salsa bar and Ritual Chocolate will be serving up mezcal-infused chocolate.
Before the fest, a special Agave 101 spirits seminar will be held on a first come first served basis for ticket holders. However, you can kick off the event even earlier when renowned local chef Janos Wilder teams up with Inurrigaro for a special agave dinner to benefit Native Seeds Search. The dinner event begins at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, May 1 with a mixer. At 7 p.m., the four course dinner will kick off with beverage pairings.
Here's the night's menu:
- Espárragos Ensalada paired with Strawberry Infused Tequila with house-made Yuzu Sour, agave meringue foam
- Apricot French ToastCodorniz paired with Reposada tequila with hazelnut simple syrup and lime juice
- Red Eye Con Carne paired with Blanco Tequila, Ancho Liqueur, house-made Limoncello, Tawny Port, Blackberry, Brulee’d Orange
- Mexican Lime & Celery Ice Cream paired with Blanco tequila, espresso, orange simple syrup, peach bitters, Sal de Gusano
The dinner is $95 plus tax and gratuity and the Agave Fest itself is $35, which includes 10 tasting tickets and a commemorative shot glass. You can buy tickets for both or either event via the Hotel Congress website