Savage Water: Tequila & Mezcal

The Secret Life of Spirits log

Event Date


About the Series

In partnership with the University of Notre Dame Alumni Association, we are proud to be part of the ThinkND virtual series exploring wine, beer, and spirits. All lectures are presented virtually, free to attend, and open to all.

The Secret Life of Spirits: Tequila & Mezcal

“O tequila, savage water of sorcery, what confusion and mischief your sly, rebellious drops do generate!” In 1980 Tom Robbins poetically captured the personality of tequila as a disruptor in his novel Still Life with Woodpecker, but he might also have been predicting tequila’s disruption of the American liquor market. According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the US, tequila and mezcal are poised to upset vodka as the best-selling liquor in the United States this year. So what is the difference between tequila and mezcal? What gives them their distinct flavors? Join Notre Dame chemistry professor Ken Kuno and Ron C. Runnebaum, associate professor in the Department of Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis as they uncover the chemical mysteries behind tequila, mezcal, and other agave-based spirits.

Upcoming Topics

The Secret Life of Spirits will focus on various types of spirits, including:

  • Vodka, Rum and Gin
  • Whiskey (Scotch, Irish, American, including Bourbon)
  • Grape-based brandies (Cognac, Brandy, Pisco, Armagnac, Grapa)

Join us for this new series from the College of Science and Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame, in collaboration with the Robert Mondavi Institute at UC Davis, and co-sponsored by YoungND and Notre Dame Senior Alumni.

More Resources:

Visit the ThinkND Series website to find more resources, including speaker biographies, short videos, articles and recordings of the events.