While tequila and mezcal are made from agave plants, they differ in the type of agave used, the region of production, the production process, and the flavor profile.
Tequila can only be made from blue Weber agave and must be produced in specific regions of Mexico, mainly Jalisco, although some other states are also allowed to produce it. It is typically made by steaming the agave inside industrial ovens, which gives it a more uniform flavor profile. Tequila is usually lighter in color and has a smoother taste than mezcal.
On the other hand, Mezcal can be made from any type of agave, although it is usually made from espadín agave. It can be produced in any region of Mexico, but the state of Oaxaca is known for producing the majority of mezcal. Mezcal is traditionally cooked in underground pits lined with lava rocks, which gives it a smoky, complex flavor profile. It is usually darker in color and has a stronger, more distinct taste than tequila.
There are important differences between the two.