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Avoid All Mezcal Brands, Except These 7

Avoid All Mezcal Brands, Except These 7

Mezcal used to be a broad term that included any type of alcohol made from agave and was often confused with tequila. However, mezcal has had its own set of standards since the 1990s and is considered distinct from other spirits like tequila.

For a mezcal brand to be considered authentic, it has to originate from one of the nine Mexican states. If the brand follows all the government standards, it can receive the Official Mexican Standard approval, also known as NOM.

Mezcal originated in Mexico and the roots of this liquor go back thousands of years to the ancient Mesoamericans. There are so many different mezcal varieties out there that it can be tricky to know which ones are the highest quality. While the NOM stamp of approval does show that a mezcal brand is authentic, it doesn’t necessarily speak to the quality of the alcohol.

There are many aspects to what makes a high-quality mezcal. Each one has a unique flavor depending on the style, type of agave used, and other added ingredients. While some mezcal brands have artificial flavors and other additives, some of the best mezcal is free from unnecessary additives and artificial ingredients.

Mezcal has become more popular in the United States in recent years. With plenty of new Hot Wine and Spirits Trends for 2024, every wine or liquor enthusiast should learn about this traditional alcohol made from agave.

To determine some of the best Mezcal brands, 24/7 Tempo consulted sources such as Mezcal Reviews, Tasting Table, and Food & Wine. We also looked at reviews and discussions on the top Mezcal brands from Reddit and other discussion boards. Seven of the best Mezcal brands are below in no particular order.

Ilegal

Mezcal, serving shots of mezcal, Oaxacan drink
Source: Edgar Xolot / Shutterstock.com

Source: Edgar Xolot / Shutterstock.com
Ilegal Mezcal works to positively affect social change.
  • Uses 100% recycled glass bottles and sustainable Espadín agave
  • Handcrafted in Oaxaca, Mexico
  • No artificial colors or flavors

A Brand Focused on Sustainability

The farmer's hat is on the agave stalk in the town of Tequila Jalisco.
Source: Jose de Jesus Churion Del / Shutterstock.com

Source: Jose de Jesus Churion Del / Shutterstock.com
This brand focuses on sustainability in more ways than one.

Not only does the flavor profile of Ilegal Mezcal make it one of the best brands, but this brand also focuses on sustainability. They aim for every part of the business, from how they treat their employees to the type of bottles they use, to be ethical. Ilegal Mezcal is also made without any unnecessary additives and has a balanced flavor with a hint of smoke.

Del Maguey

Maguey and Mezcal Traditional Spirit drink
Source: Angel Infame Huerta / Shutterstock.com

Source: Angel Infame Huerta / Shutterstock.com
Del Maguey hand crafts its mezcal in Mexico.
  • Started initiatives to support the community
  • Sweet and smoky flavor
  • Handcrafted by individual Zapotech and Mixtec farmers

Dedicated to Tradition

grinding agave mezcal production process
Source: CesarSalas / Shutterstock.com

Source: CesarSalas / Shutterstock.com
This company uses a tried and true method that is over 400 years old.

Del Maguey is another authentic mezcal brand that’s handcrafted in Mexico by farm families. This brand is dedicated to tradition and uses a method of making mezcal that’s over 400 years old. Del Maguey has also started initiatives to contribute to the community in Mexico such as their agriculture program.

Derrumbes

Mexican Mezcal Shots with worm, orange slice and spicy Salt in Mexico Latin America
Source: Marcos Castillo / Shutterstock.com

Source: Marcos Castillo / Shutterstock.com
Derrumbes’ mezcal highlights the diverse flavors and traditions of different regions of Mexico.
  • Highlights the traditions of different regions of Mexico
  • Offers diverse and unique flavors
  • Works with small producers across Mexico

Highlights the Traditions and Flavors of Different Regions

Las Coloradas in Zacatecas, Mexico. Las Coloradas, or 'blush red' in Spanish, get its magenta pink hue from red-coloured algae, plankton and brine shrimp that live its salty waters.
Source: cb.creativeworks / Shutterstock.com

Source: cb.creativeworks / Shutterstock.com
This brand works with small mezcal producers in regions such as Zacatecas.

One of the most unique aspects of this Mezcal brand is the six different mezcal expressions, or varieties, they offer. This brand works with small mezcal producers in regions such as Oaxaca, Zacatecas, and Durango. Each expression highlights the diverse flavors and traditions of the Mexican region it comes from.

Rey Campero

mezcal, spirit drink, mezcal shots
Source: Edgar Xolot / Shutterstock.com

Source: Edgar Xolot / Shutterstock.com
The Sánchez family produces Rey Campero Mezcal.
  • Produced by a family in Oaxaca, Mexico
  • Represents the culture of a small village in Oaxaca
  • Works to preserve wild agave and aids in reforestation efforts

Committed to Preserving Wild Agave

Source: camaralenta / Getty Images

Source: camaralenta / Getty Images
This brand also works to preserve wild agave.

Like many of the best mezcal brands, a family in Oaxaca produces Rey Campero Mezcal. The Sánchez family has created high-quality mezcal for four generations and is based out of the Candelaria Yegolé village in Zoquitlán. Rey Campero is also committed to preserving the traditions of mezcal production by preserving wild agave and participating in reforestation efforts.

Lalocura

Latin Woman drinking tequila or mezcal shot with group of young latin Friends making A Toast In Restaurant terrace in Mexico Latin America
Source: Marcos Castillo / Shutterstock.com

Source: Marcos Castillo / Shutterstock.com
Eduardo Ángeles started Lalocura.
  • Created in Oaxaca, Mexico
  • Uses a unique method of distilling to create a sweeter profile
  • Complex flavors in each expression

Made Authentically with Quality Ingredients

Copper pot used for the distillation process and obtaining ethanol to later obtain mezcal alcohol in Mexico
Source: Amalia Vargas Rubio / Shutterstock.com

Source: Amalia Vargas Rubio / Shutterstock.com
This brand uses a distinct method of distilling.

Lalocura was exclusively sold to a few places in Mexico until they started expanding to other areas in recent years. This brand, started by Eduardo Ángeles, is still selective about ingredients and where they sell their mezcal. Lalocura Mezcal is produced in Oaxaca, Mexico using the same traditional practices that Mezcaleros, or those who make mezcal, have used for centuries.

El Jolgorio

Mexican tequila shots with lime slices on wooden table. Drink made from agave
Source: New Africa / Shutterstock.com

Source: New Africa / Shutterstock.com
El Jolgorio represents 16 different families in different regions of Mexico.
  • Produced by 16 different families in Mexico
  • Offers Mezcal expressions to represent different regions of Mexico
  • Focused on sustainability

Made from Rare Agave in Oaxaca

At dawn the farmer is cutting several agave plants in the field of Tequila Jalisco.
Source: Jose de Jesus Churion Del / Shutterstock.com

Source: Jose de Jesus Churion Del / Shutterstock.com
This brand is committed to sustainability.

Most of the Mezcal expressions from El Jolgorio were previously available only in Mexico. However, the Black Bar Project now offers a full line of El Jolgorio Mezcals. This brand represents 16 different families in different regions of Mexico. With a focus on sustainability, this brand is committed to preserving wild agave and only producing the amount of mezcal that the local varieties of agave can handle.

Vago

Arrangement with delicious mezcal beverage
Source: teonataranu9 / Shutterstock.com

Source: teonataranu9 / Shutterstock.com
Each bottle of Vago features a label with numerous fascinating details about the product.
  • Celebrates diversity in flavors and tradition
  • Authentically crafted in Oaxaca
  • Unique flavors made without additives

Born Out of a Love for the Traditions of Oaxaca

Punta Cometa and Playa Mazunte sunset beach panorama view with waves cliff cliffs mountain mountains hill hills rocks rock in tropical nature jungle forest in Mazunte Oaxaca Mexico.
Source: Arkadij Schell / Shutterstock.com

Source: Arkadij Schell / Shutterstock.com
The co-founders of this brand fell in love with the traditions and culture of Oaxaca.

The idea of Vago first came to the co-founders of this brand during a trip to Oaxaca, where they fell in love with the traditions and culture. Vago works with four different Mezcaleros, including the father-in-law of co-founder Judah Emanuel Kuper. Each unique bottle of Mezcla has a label that describes exactly where its origins are, the type of agave, and numerous other details about the expression. (Check out Drinks to Avoid Getting at a Bar and What to Order Instead.)

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