Today, mezcal and tequila are two completely different liquors. Tequila may only be made from the blue agave in government-specified areas of Jalisco, Mexico, while mezcal may be made from any variety of agave. The original fermentation is 104 to 106 proof, but is reduced to 80 to 86 proof for shipment to the United States.
Mexican standards require the standard cocktail mixing liquor to be at least 51 percent derived from agave sap sugar to be labeled Tequila, with the remaining 49 percent generally being corn or cane sugar.
Tequila made of 100 percent agave is much more expensive and is reserved as a sipping liquor due to its high quality.
More About Tequila and Tequila Recipes• Tequila Cooking Tips
• What is the difference between mezcal and tequila? FAQ
• Tequila History
• Alcohol Substitution Chart
• Alcohol Burn-Off Chart
• Tequila Recipes
Cooking with Tequila Photo © 2008 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.