If you’re drinking mezcal the same way you drank tequila when you were 22 years old—downing shots of it with a Sprite chaser—you’re most definitely drinking mezcal wrong. But that’s not the only mistake you could be making. Here are five mezcal missteps, and tips on how to correct them. Once you start drinking mezcal the right way, we assure you that you’ll enjoy drinking the spirit even more than you already did.
Mistake: Drinking Mezcal Like a Tequila Shot
If you’re shooting your mezcal like you would tequila, for the love of all things holy, please stop. Despite the fact that both spirits are distilled from the agave plant, mezcal and tequila are very different. Mezcal, no matter the brand or style in which it is made, is always meant to be sipped slow and savored.
Mistake: Sipping Mezcal Alone
While you should skip the salt and limes, mezcal is best with food. The smoky-savory Mexican spirit is traditionally accompanied by slices of orange, grapefruit or guava, along with sal de gusano—salt mixed with ground chiles and dried, ground larvae that live in the agave plants. While it sounds strange, we assure you that it is an incredible pairing. Straight mezcal also works wonderfully with a variety of foods, especially stewed or barbecued meat, and rich, heavy sauces like mole.