Everything You Need to Know About Ilegal Mezcal

When most Westerners think of drinks from Mexico, they think of tequila. Not as many people have tried the wonder that is mezcal.

Like tequila, mezcal is made from the agave plant, but mezcal has a little extra edge because there is no rule about the type of agave that can be used. Ilegal Mezcal is one of the most popular brands of mezcal available in the US.

If you haven’t tried mezcal, it’s akin to smokey artisanal whiskies. Technically speaking, all tequilas are mezcals, but let’s not worry too much about that. Later you can take a look at our guide on the differences between mezcal and tequila.

For now, though, let’s take a closer look at Ilegal mezcal. 

The History of Ilegal Mezcal

Ilegal Mezcal was founded by John Rexer back in 2006 after two years of bringing mezcal from Oaxaca to his bar Café No Sé in Antigua. The mezcal grew in popularity swiftly, and John decided to distill his own mezcal to avoid having to smuggle mezcal across the border.

Ilegal made its way into the States after Bacardi bought a minority stake in Ilegal. Ilegal has always been a conscious company. Socially, environmentally, economically, and politically aware, Ilegal brings a whole new meaning to drinking responsibly.   

Ilegal Mezcal Flavor Profiles

There are three different expressions of mezcal made by Ilegal: the 13 months aged Añejo, the four-month aged Reposado, and the unaged Joven. All three products are bottled at 40% ABV.

Añejo

Añejo is the crème de la crème of Ilegal’s mezcals. It’s aged in a mixture of French and American oak barrels and used bourbon barrels for 13 months. It’s a full, smooth, and rich-tasting mezcal with bitter orange, clove, and maple aromas. It tastes smokey, with notes of sweet agave and dark chocolate on the palate.   

Reposado

Ilegal’s Reposado is aged in American oak barrels for four months. This short time in oak provides the mezcal with a gentle toastiness to the already vegetal and earthy tasting mezcal. Reposado has woody, caramel, baked agave, and chili aromas. 

Joven

Joven is Ilegal’s entry-level Mezcal, but don’t let that put you off. Unlike Añejo and Reposado, Joven is un-aged. Joven has an earthy aroma with notes of tobacco and flowers. It has a caramel-like sweetness to it with hints of pepper, citrus, and green apple. 

Ilegal Mezcal Recipes

Many seasoned mezcal drinkers will tell you that mezcal is meant to be sipped neat, much like a fine whiskey or cognac. However, mezcal does remarkably well as a base spirit for cocktails. Here is an interesting spin using Ilegal mezcal.

Paper Airplane

Why not Put a mezcal spin on the classic airplane?

.75oz Ilegal Mezcal Joven

.75oz Aperol

.75oz Triple Sec

.75oz lime juice

Shake all the ingredients vigorously with ice. Strain and finish with lime zest and lemon peel garnish.

Ready to Try Ilegal Mezcal?

Ilegal mezcal has a growing following, and for a good reason. Ilegal is produced and hand-bottled in small batches.

Mezcal a beautiful drink made with a lot of love and craft. The state of Utah does not stock Ilegal; very few establishments carry it. 

Taqueria 27 special orders all three expressions of Ilegal (Todd’s fav is the Anejo). Check it out at one of our locations today!