Most drinkers are familiar with tequila, and a few more know about mezcal, but not many people are well versed in the other three native Mexican spirits: sotol, raicilla and bacanora.
All five of the principal Mexican spirits are distilled from agave. They share many similarities, yet are all distinctive and different in their own ways. Roasting and distillation manner, production differences, agave variety and terroir significantly alter the finished spirit.
Tequila, bacanora, sotol and raicilla are specific kinds of agave spirits. Tequila is made from the Weber blue agave, generally either 100 percent or in lower quality tequilas, 51 percent. “Mezcal can come from any number of a couple dozen varieties of agave, mixed or entirely from one type, like espadin, tobala, madrecuiche and others,” says Jack Robertiello, founder of Drinks Ink.
Here’s everything else you need to know.