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Entertaining
The 10 Best Cocktails Made With Mezcal

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In the last few years, mezcal has gone from relative obscurity to the agave spirit everyone is talking about—and putting on their cocktail menus. While mezcal is traditionally sipped neat in its native Mexico, the smoky spirit is being incorporated more and more into cocktails that benefit from its savory complexity—and it’s a trend we can get behind. Here, 10 of our favorite mezcal concoctions that are worth getting excited about.  

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Inspired by the famous Hand Grenade cocktail in New Orleans, this recipe created by Nick Bennett of Porchlight in New York is equally eye-catching as the infamously litigious original, but it’s significantly more delicious thanks to its mezcal base. Mezcal and bitter cinnamon syrup keep the drink from being too sweet, while the blue curaçao and peach brandy pay homage to the original. It’s unlike any other blue drink you’ve had before.

The Essentials

Mezcal
Blue Curaçao
Peach Brandy
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While mezcal’s smokiness may be its main selling point, there are so many more flavors in the spirit to love. This cocktail from Jeff Walters of Leña Brava in Chicago coaxes the subtle herbaceous notes out of joven mezcal by complementing those flavors with muddled serrano peppers and cucumbers, as well as a dash of yellow Chartreuse. The result not only has a nice touch of spice, but it’s also insanely refreshing.


 

The Essentials

Mezcal
serrano pepper
cucumber slices
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Rather than pitting two beloved agave spirits against each other, this Margarita brings tequila and mezcal together harmoniously. Tequila’s bright, vegetal notes are balanced with mezcal’s earthiness. Created by New York restaurant Flinders Lane, this bright orange Marg also incorporates carrot juice, chiles and cardamom for an even more savory twist on the classic.

The Essentials

chili-infused tequila
Mezcal
carrot juice
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Rum may be the king of all things tiki, but mezcal is throwing its hat in to the tropical ring with this exotic fruit cocktail. Created by Chad Solomon of Midnight Rambler in Dallas, Texas, this drink combines passion fruit purée with mezcal and amontillado sherry, along with white crème de cacao. It’s zesty, rich and oh so satisfying.

The Essentials

Mezcal
Passion fruit Puree
Amontillado Sherry
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Zach Patterson of L.A.’s Melrose Umbrella Co. infuses his mezcal with dried plums to give it a sweeter, fruitier flavor. The infusion gets shaken with with three green ingredients: avocado syrup, matcha powder and fresh lime juice. Unlike most creamy avocado cocktails, this savory drink is light, silky and goes down easy.

The Essentials

plum-infused mezcal
Avocado Syrup
matcha powder
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Coconut cocktails are the perfect remedy for a hot summer’s day—but drinking right out of the coconut itself? That’s instant, imbibable vacation. On the beaches of Mexico, you’ll find people cracking open coconuts, squeezing in fresh lime juice and spiking it with a little booze. We chose to take it a little further by blending mezcal, lime, fresh coconut water and honey syrup with crushed ice, before pouring the frosty mixture back into the coconut shell.

The Essentials

Mezcal
coconut
Honey Syrup
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This innovative spin on the Mexican Bulldog is sour and rich—and one of the most interesting beer-tails you’ll ever taste. While the tart, punchy flavor of blackberries is a natural fit for mezcal, porter beer isn’t quite as obvious a match. But no matter how strange it seems, the brew’s bitter, chocolaty notes complement toasty mezcal beautifully—after all, dark chocolate is a common tasting companion to mezcal.

The Essentials

mezcal
blackberries
porter
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Horchata isn’t traditionally boozy, but its creamy, nutty flavor is just begging for a splash of mezcal. This recipe calls for Gem & Bolt, which is distilled with an ancient Mexican herb called damiana, giving the spirit an herbaceousness that pairs perfectly with China-China, a bitter amaro made with cinchona bark. Those intense flavors are all offset by sweet almond horchata, demerara syrup and muddled pineapple, yielding a delightful and expertly balanced drink.

The Essentials

Gem & Bolt
Almond Horchata
China-China Amer
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Pumpkin is an everyday food in Mexico, where it’s often served alongside sweet and savory mole—most likely with a glass of mezcal on the side. For this autumnal take on a Margarita, Johnny Swet of JIMMY at the James in New York plays up the savory side of the gourd by mixing pumpkin butter with mezcal, cinnamon syrup and fresh lime juice. Unlike the PSL, this pumpkin drink is anything but basic.
 

The Essentials

Mezcal
Pumpkin Butter
Cinnamon Syrup
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Bubble tea, a popular East Asian dessert that’s having a moment in the U.S., gets the boozy treatment in this spiked version from Elton Keung of Labobatory in San Gabriel, California. The tapioca pearls are soaked in longan honey, giving the boba a more floral flavor that pairs well with mezcal. The vibrant purple taro powder gives the drink a violet hue that makes it as fun to look at as it is to drink.


 

The Essentials

Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
Teazone Taro Powder
Tapioca balls

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