Tequila is a type of mezcal. The term "mezcal" is broader and encompasses tequila and other types of liquor made from the agave plant. A drink may only be labeled tequila if it is produced in a certain area of Mexico (in the state of Jalisco) and is made from the Agave Tequilana Weber, commonly known as "blue agave," and the process is regulated quite strictly. Mezcal on the other hand, is made in different areas of Mexico and from different types of agave. The process in which tequila is made also differs from how most mezcal is made. For tequila, the heart of the agave plant (called the piņa, because of its resemblance to a pineapple) is steamed before distillation, and for most mezcal it is roasted in an underground pit, giving it a smoky flavor.
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