A little smoky and a little earthy, mezcal is certainly more than a little trendy in the cocktail scene. At America’s best bars, the agave-based spirit hailing from Mexico can now be found in the hands of top mixologists who are using the distillate’s unique profile to create distinct and memorable cocktails.
Though most often thought of as a cousin of tequila, mezcal’s comparatively bolder profile makes it slightly less approachable when sipped on its own. Mixing the spirit into cocktails makes for an easier foray into the category — especially as it makes a surprisingly stunning complement for floral and fruit-forward flavors.
Not sure where to start? Read on for 10 of the best mezcal cocktail recipes to make right now!
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Table Of Contents
Best Fruity Mezcal Cocktails
The Mezcal Margarita Recipe
We all love a good Marg, but sometimes we’re looking to shake things up. Enter: the Mezcal Margarita. As its name suggests, this variation of the classic drink subs in mezcal in place of tequila for a balanced combination of sweet, citrusy, and smoky flavors.
The Naked and Famous
Thankfully, you don’t have to be naked (or famous) to enjoy this modern classic. Created in 2011 by acclaimed bartender Joaquín Simó, the Naked and Famous is “the bastard love child of the Last Word and the Paper Plane conceived in the mountains of Oaxaca,” as described by Simó himself. Mezcal and lime juice harmonize with equal parts Yellow Chartreuse and Aperol to create this refreshing, multi-national masterpiece.
The Pineapple Mezcal Sour Recipe
Transport to the tropics with this fruit-forward sip. Inspired by the Pisco Sour, this cocktail combines mezcal with pineapple juice, lime juice, and agave with foamy egg white and aromatic bitters. The result? A stunningly balanced libation you’ll want to make all summer long.
The Berry-Mezcal Colada Recipe
Piña who? This berry Colada might not be as well known as its pineapple-flavored cousin, but its combination of mezcal, crème de cassis, lime juice, coconut cream, and orange bitters is sure to be a hit with any crowd this summer.
The Strawberry-Rhubarb Mezcal Margarita Recipe
Another mezcal-infused riff on the Margarita, this recipe combines the spirit with Aperol, citrus juice, and homemade strawberry-rhubarb syrup. Top with fresh mint, a lime wheel, and skewered strawberries for a drink that’s as visually appealing as it is tasty.
The Strawberry Mezcal Flip Recipe
Rules are meant to be broken, especially in the cocktail world. While plenty of sours incorporate egg white for a foamy mouthfeel, the Strawberry Mezcal Flip goes a step further, calling for a whole egg — yolk and all. The delicious combo of mezcal, fruit, and rich, creamy egg makes for an unforgettable cocktail resembling a strawberry milkshake in appearance when done right.
Best Savory Mezcal Cocktails
The Electron Recipe
Created by Chicago bartender Julia Momosé, the Electron is a delightfully balanced combination of spicy and earthy flavors. To make one, combine mezcal, cinnamon syrup, lime juice, carrot juice, and orange bitters, and strain into a salt and pepper-rimmed coupe glass.
The Mezcal Martini
The Martini is back in style. And while the drink is classically made with gin or vodka, home bartenders need not put away their agave spirits when crafting one this summer. This recipe calls for both tequila and mezcal in its specs as well as a pickled jalapeño to top it all off.
The Oaxacan Ginger Toddy Recipe
Hot Toddy season is the best season. Subbing whiskey with mezcal, this riff on the wintry classic boasts a campfire-like smokiness, creating an elevated Hot Toddy with an herbal, woodsy note from yellow Chartreuse that we didn’t know we needed. Top it off with a heavy cream floater to evoke a cappuccino-like texture that’ll warm you from the inside out.
The Southpaw Recipe
With a name that honors all the left-handed all-stars out there, the Southpaw recipe throws a curveball or two. Combining Cynar, an artichoke based liqueur popping up on bar shelves all over the country, with Cherry Heering, mezcal reposado, and two types of sherry, the Southpaw is sweet and smoky, with a warming finish thanks to the addition of allspice dram. It pairs well with fireside chats and spooky campfire stories.
The Smoky Orange And Thyme Margarita Recipe
If a Tommy Bahama-clad Lumberjack were a cocktail, they would be the Smoky Orange and Thyme Margarita. A savory riff on the classic Marg, this libation adds thyme simple syrup to sweet, zesty orange juice, which are combined in harmony with smoky Mezcal. A beverage that packs the savory notes of a steak dinner with the bright acidity of a Margarita? Crazy, but crazy good.
The Mezcal Negroni Recipe
What happens when two trendsetters meet at a bar? The Mezcal Negroni, of course. This recipe combines two popular drinks into one delicious, highly aromatic cocktail. To make it, just combine mezcal, Campari, and sweet vermouth, with an orange peel for garnish.
Best Bubbly Mezcal Cocktails
The Diamond Paloma Recipe
This mezcal-infused highball is as sessionable as summer cocktails come. Combining mezcal with Italicus, a liqueur made with bergamot, as well as lime juice and grapefruit soda, this drink is easy to make — and even easier to sip.
The Solar Spritz Recipe
Spritz season is here, and mezcal wouldn’t dare miss out on all the fun. Combining the agave spirit with pamplemousse liqueur, citric acid solution, and Prosecco offsets the herbaceousness of mezcal with the zestiness of grapefruit.
The Mexicano Recipe
A fun, regional take on the Americano, the Mexicano substitutes sweet vermouth with mezcal and a bit of agave syrup — aromatic ingredients that, when combined with Campari and soda water, offer a surprisingly balanced profile.
What is a good mixer for mezcal?
With its earthy, smoky profile, mezcal pairs well with bright, fruit-forward, and floral mixers like hibiscus syrup, tropical fruit juice, and fresh citrus.
How is mezcal different from tequila?
Tequila is a region-specific type of mezcal made in the Mexican state of Jalisco, from Blue Weber agave.
Can you drink mezcal straight?
Yes, you can drink mezcal straight. The spirit is often served neat, on the rocks, or mixed into cocktails.
Does mezcal go bad?
Like any spirit, mezcal won’t expire or go bad — though its flavors will begin to change or fade if left in an opened bottle for an extended period of time.