Tequila and mezcal appear to be nearly in every single place today as drinkers in the US more and more flip to agave spirits. Now, it may appear unusual when a bar doesn’t have not less than one mezcal cocktail and a handful of tequila cocktails on the menu, plus some bottles ok for neat pours. Whereas this can be a welcome change to the bar scene for agave fanatics, there’s one factor that’s much more thrilling: the rise of the agave spirits-focused bar.
From coast to coast and in every single place in-between, yow will discover bars that focus nearly solely on tequila, mezcal and different agave spirits. These spots can have tons of of choices and are led by bartenders and consultants that will help you navigate the intensive menus. These are those to have in your radar.
Whereas facilities of tequila and mezcal tradition run deep in states like California and Texas, the primary mezcaleria in the US popped up in New York Metropolis when Casa Mezcal opened in 2009. At the moment, the Huge Apple is house to numerous agave-focused bars and eating places, however few can match as much as The Cupboard. Led by Greg Boehm of Cocktail Kingdom and Katana Kitten, The Cupboard retains greater than 300 mezcal expressions in inventory, with a variety of different agave spirits like tequila, sotol and raicilla. Right here, you’ll discover limited-production bottles and spirits made with uncommon sorts of agave that even mezcal fanatics have little expertise with (assume cenizo, papalometl and tobasiche). With that entry comes a catch, nonetheless: getting a seat at this small hideaway is usually a problem.
One agave spirits-focused bar is a cherished discover. Two bars in the identical location is subsequent degree. Upstairs, Barcoa’s cantina is a full of life spot the place instructor-led Tuesday salsa and bachata lessons open up the chance to bounce off these drinks. Within the smaller downstairs basement the place reservations are beneficial, it’s simple to spend hours chatting about your most well-liked spirits and letting the bartenders aid you discover your subsequent favourite. This dual-bar providing means you may match the vibe you’re in search of on any specific evening, and the totally different drink choices at every means there’s all the time one thing new to discover. And should you discover one thing you actually take pleasure in, the bar additionally serves as a retail retailer so that you to take house these hard-to-find spirits. From the Oaxacan artwork to sinks made out of the well-known Volcan de Tequila (the volcano the place a number of the most cherished agaves for tequila are grown), Barcoa is agave-focused by and thru. The bar group makes journeys right down to Mexico to study tequila and mezcal manufacturing, so you may belief their data is first-hand.
Casi cielo interprets to “nearly heaven,” and for agave followers in Atlanta, the title is apt. With the most important mezcal choice within the metropolis, Casi Cielo clearly has a powerful lineup of agave spirits. It additionally fills that listing out with specialty mezcal and tequila cocktails (conventional and in any other case) for individuals who don’t wish to sip their drink neat. Whereas there’s nothing flawed with sitting on the bar for a drinks-only go to, the Oaxacan-inspired meals menu could have you spending extra than simply the span of a pair drinks right here. As a result of the one factor higher than sipping a uncommon mezcal is doing so whereas consuming mole.
One signal of the thriving state of agave-focused bars is what number of new locations are opening up as the primary within the state. La Piña opened in Milwaukee’s Harbor District in 2023. This small house has greater than 70 tequilas, in addition to a wholesome mezcal choice, and is staffed by educated bartenders who can assist you discover one thing good to sip on or whip up a cocktail for you. Proprietor Patrick Todd has made many a tequila-focused journey to Mexico, so he opened La Piña as a spot for agave spirits lovers in Wisconsin. A part of his purpose contains internet hosting tequila and mezcal tasting occasions, cocktail lessons and, in fact, scrumptious drinks. Pay attention to Tuesdays, when La Piña has 20% off of tequila flights and the tequila of the week.
Mezcalito, San Francisco, CA
The tone at Mezcalito is straight away set by the “Ode to Mezcal” mural by native artist Brian Barneclo out entrance. Although if that doesn’t do it, the towering wall of spirits on the bottle cabinets behind the bar will. Mezcal is within the title, however there’s no scarcity of tequila that the well-informed bartenders can pull from, suggest and blend right into a cocktail should you’re not within the temper for neat pours. If there’s room, seize a seat on the bar for the very best expertise. Attempt one of many customized mezcal tastings, that includes bottles pulled from the “mezcal altar” of 100-plus bottles, or cease by for Tequila Tuesday to discover all issues tequila. For locals or anybody who foresees numerous San Francisco stops of their close to future, Mezcalito’s bottle locker program is among the finest methods to maintain your favourite discover (or a number of finds, as there’s room for multiple bottle) accessible to the final drop.
There’s a seemingly limitless variety of mezcals to strive within the NYC space if you realize the place to look. However at Little Oaxaca, the mezzanine mezcalera at Fandi Mata, yow will discover choices like La Clandestina 40 and Enmascarado 54 which can be imported for the restaurant and may’t be discovered anyplace else stateside. The bar serves as a separate entity from the Mediterranean focus of the primary restaurant. Greater than 50 artisanal mezcals are on provide on the 12-seat bar, in addition to cocktails should you’re seeking to combine issues up. With a variety curated by Milos Zica, Fandi Mata’s companion and beverage director who beforehand labored at famend NYC bar Workers Solely, you may rely on discovering one thing new and fascinating with each go to.
It’s tough to beat consuming at La Doña when in search of mezcal in Denver. Outdoors, a patio takes benefit of town’s well-known 300 days of sunshine. Inside, a dimly lit room with numerous sorts of agave painted on the partitions is ideal for snowed-in drinks and escaping the summer season warmth. La Doña is a sister idea to the restaurant Adelitas Cocina Y Cantina from proprietor and head chef Silvia Andaya, so company of the bar can order meals. Let the employees information your selections should you’re feeling indecisive, or just flip to the Captain’s Record — a specifically curated choice that highlights a large range of mezcals. It’s right here that you simply’re additionally prone to discover your subsequent favourite mezcal: each Wednesday, the employees picks 5 or extra bottles centered on a theme of area, mezcalero or agave species, and people picks can be found for half value.
If there’s one ethos that runs by all the things about Las Vegas, it’s that extra is extra. At Mama Rabbit, which means extra agave spirits — actually, the most important collection of tequilas and mezcals within the metropolis. This vivid 4,400-square-foot, multi-room ode to agave is positioned in Park MGM and opened in 2019. It’s led by Bricia Lopez, whose household additionally runs the Oaxacan food-focused Los Angeles restaurant Guelaguetza. The title refers back to the historic goddess of agave and fertility, Mayahuel. In response to legend, Mayahuel birthed 400 rabbits that stayed rightly intoxicated as they survived off of the fermented agave drink pulque. One other story posits that she fed mezcal to the rabbits, they usually became agaves later in life. There will not be a tequila and mezcal for each one in every of Mayahuel’s rabbits, however the multi-page menu (together with 4 pages of tequilas and two pages of mezcals) undoubtedly has sufficient choices to maintain you endlessly preoccupied. This being Vegas, there’s reside leisure on Friday and Saturday nights.
Greater than 400 agave spirits grace the menu at this Los Angeles establishment that opened in 2010. The main target is on artisanal producers in small cities within the states of Oaxaca and Chihuahua for mezcal, and the states of Jalisco and Tamaulipas for tequila. The title is a reference to the normal manner that mezcal producers take a look at their spirit’s alcohol: when the mezcal is shaken, las perlas, or pearl-like bubbles, type, and producers can ballpark the alcohol content material with unbelievable accuracy by the scale of the bubbles and how briskly they dissipate. At Las Perlas, the primary shaking will probably be of agave-focused cocktails for individuals who don’t wish to sip the spirits neat. A small meals menu of Mexican classics, beers and agua frescas can be found as nicely.
Sure, this can be a bar in Epcot on a Disney property, and you want to purchase a park ticket to get in. Don’t let that idiot you, although — La Cava del Tequila has one of the intensive tequila menus within the nation with greater than 200 to select from (together with bottles unique to the placement), together with cocktails, beer and wine. You’ll be able to dive deeper into the spirit with a tasting guided by a licensed tequila ambassador. This being Epcot, company can indulge within the numerous tequilas of their alternative after which eat around the globe on the many different eating themes. Although nobody might blame you for sticking to the tequila as a substitute, as there are greater than sufficient choices to maintain you occupied.
Tobala is a small bar-within-a-bar in Austin that focuses on mezcals made with wild agaves like tepextate, jabali, madre cuixe and extra. Flights are available copitas with sal de gusano (conventional worm salt), whereas full pours come within the traditional veladora glass with the cross on the underside. Right here, mezcal is the one factor on the menu. Tobala is within the upstairs a part of Whisler’s and may shortly get packed, because it’s solely open on Fridays and Saturdays for walk-ins. While you get a seat, keep away from being overwhelmed by the alternatives and let the bartenders information your tastings.
Get an opportunity to win an opulent getaway for 2 to Acre resort in Mexico! Be a part of America’s Quickest Rising Spirits Publication THE SPILL at present.