With distinctive flavors that produce complex and nuanced cocktails, mezcal has secured its position as a bartender favorite. Made from more than 30 different agave species, the smoky sipper has flavors that run the gamut, including from vegetal, floral, fruity, and spicy. Mezcal has become so popular as of late that finding a bar program without the spirit would prove to be a daunting task.
To help home bartenders add some Mexican spirit to their bar lineup, drinks experts are sharing their latest favorite mezcals. From artisanal seasonal releases, to an offering that dials down the smoke, to a celebratory mezcal that uses raw turkey breast, read on for the 11 new bottles that bartenders are springing for.
The Best New Mezcals Recommended By Bartenders:
- Derrumbes Tamaulipas Mezcal
- Neta Mezcal Bicuixe 2018
- Vago Espadin Mezcal
- El Jolgorio Pechuga Navideña
- Doña Vega Espadin Mezcal
- Madre Mezcal
- La Luna Mezcal
- Quiereme Mucho Tobala
- Neta ‘Hotel June’ Mexicano Verde & Bicuixe
- Legendario Domingo Guerrero Cupreata Mezcal Joven
- Yola Mezcal
Keep reading for details about all of the recommended bottles!
“My new favorite mezcal is anything that comes from Derrumbes, particularly the Tamaulipas. It’s a beautiful expression of the mezcal that is coming out of the region. Derrumbes has a focus on the terroir of agave distillates, and what is in the bottle was chosen specifically to showcase tradition, organic sustainability, transparency, and the highest-quality wild agave being used. It’s made from Tamaulipas exclusive agave like Funkiana and Univittata, and has agave Americana. The mezcal has a bright, vegetal aroma that reminds me of fresh bell peppers from a garden, with complex layers of richness and subtle smoke.” —Jason Sorbet, Beverage Director, The Chloe, New Orleans
“Neta Mezcal Bicuixe 2018 by Cándido García Cruz: Neta Spirits always has excellent small-batch releases from some of my favorite Miahuatlan producers, but this one made my all-time bottle list and was a bright spot on my backbar during the last few months. I’ve enjoyed sharing this bottle with our guests and reminiscing about summers in Oaxaca.” —James Simpson, Beverage Director/Manager, Espita and Las Gemelas, Washington, D.C.
“While not new, I’m always excited to carry Vago Espadin mezcal — it makes a great staple behind any bar. It’s around 50 percent alcohol, with every batch being a little different. It’s well balanced, with mild citrus and smoky aromatics making it perfect for sipping.” —Shaun Dunn, Lead Bartender, Somerset at Viceroy Chicago, Chicago
“El Jolgorio Pechuga Navideña: Pechugas are always special due to [their] small production. This one has notes of fruits used in the holiday season and [is a] bit sweeter than other releases.” —Roberta Scampoli, Lead Bartender, Dirty Habit DC, Washington, D.C.
“I’m a big fan of Doña Vega Espadin Mezcal. Designed to be more approachable yet still sophisticated, [this] mezcal [is] made from 100 percent Maguey Espadin agave. It’s female-owned and -operated, and originally began as a passion project by Sonya Vega Auvray. After discovering mezcal, she became obsessed with the bold taste but felt that many Maguey iterations were too smoky or intense. After traveling through Oaxaca, she created Doña Vega. Her creative blend honors the tradition and unique flavors of mezcal with a modern twist.” —Will Talbott, Bar Manager, The Standard, High Line, NYC
“Madre Mezcal: While not necessarily new, it’s such a complex mezcal for around 50 bucks a pop, which is kind of unheard of. It’s got a great price point that warrants mixing into cocktails, but is even better sipped neat, in my opinion. It’s a blend of mostly Espadin and a bit of Cuixe, the latter of which adds a bit more depth than a typical 100 percent Espadin. It’s floral, mineral-driven, and has this beautiful roasted sage vibe on the finish that I’m all about. It doesn’t hurt that the logo was created by House of Land, either, which from a graphic design standpoint is beautifully minimal.” —Brett Helke, Bartender, Perro Blanco, Norfolk, Va.
“La Luna is our new house mezcal at all three locations. It is from Michoacan which is one of the often overlooked mezcal-producing places. I love that their native varietal is Cupreata, which is hard to find and very expensive outside of that area.” —Katsumi Yuso Ruiz, Co-Owner, Curio/Brass Tacks/Roger’s Liquid Oasis, Denver
“Quiereme Mucho Tobala: Quiereme Mucho products are a new addition to the Maryland market. Their Tobala has been very divisive in the mezcal community because of a “love-it-or-hate-it” flavor profile that is very atypical for that varietal. While it does contain some of the rich, fruity florality that Tobala is known for, there is a delightful salinity that makes it stand out and work great for food pairings. Notes of sea breeze, bonito, and cucumber make this a perfect pairing for seafood, specifically ceviche.” —Andrew Nichols, Head of Mixology, Atlas Restaurant Group, Florida/Maryland/Texas/Washington, D.C.
“Neta ‘Hotel June’ Mexicano Verde & Bicuixe or Legendario Domingo Guerrero Cupreata: While the L.D. Guerrero is not a new release, both of these are favorite sippers of mine. The Neta is a major body high, and the L.D. Guerrero is like drinking dark cocoa and fresh-cut jalapenos.” —Steve Livigni, F&B Partner and Beverage Director, Caravan Swim Club at Hotel June, Los Angeles
“Yola Mezcal: Traditionally made and women-owned, it’s nice to see an affordably priced mezcal, owned by Mexicans and holding up tradition. Released several years ago, it’s distilled to proof, which means it retains all the flavors of the agave, Espadin and Madrecuixe (one of my favorite varieties of agave). It really stands out in a sea of celebrity-owned agave nonsense.” —Josh Seaburg, Bartender, Crudo Nudo, Norfolk, Va.