Where to drink Mezcal in CDMX
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The rising popularity of mezcal in Mexico and in the world is spurring more producers and more places that specialize in the spirit to bring their products to the general public. While there are many concerns about the sustainability of the industry, seeking artisanal mezcales from small producers is a better practice for enthusiasts of this intriguing spirit. Here are some of our favorite spots to enjoy unique distillates and talk to knowledgeable people about their mezcales' origin, characteristics, and production.
La Botica started serving some mezcal from Matatlán, Oaxaca, and later introduced mezcales from different regions of the country such as Guerrero, Hidalgo, Durango, and Puebla. The menu is written on a piece of cardboard that offers a changing selection of handmade mezcal by Mexican producers from different parts of the country. Depending on availability, you can find minero, miahuatlán, madre cuishe, tobalá, papalote, cenizo, reposado, añejo, potosino, alto, azul, verde, curandero, pata de mula, borrego, oro verde, colorado, as well as some infused with cedrón, agave worm, nanche fruit, desert herbs, and, on a fortuitous occasion, even marijuana. Accompany them with a cold beer and the obligatory orange slices and agave worm salt. Traditional snacks such as grasshoppers, dried beef, queso botanero, queso fundido, tamales, tlacoyos, and chile-coated apples are also available.
Barra Alipus Tlalpan
In 1999, Los Danzantes Distillery launched the Mezcal Alipús line as a social project to generate the rural economy in Oaxaca through the elaboration and commercialization of artisan mezcales. These young mezcales, made by rural Oaxacans, first became known in the renowned restaurant Los Danzantes, and in its most informal counterpart, Corazón de Maguey. Thanks to the success of the project and the wide distribution of these mezcales in Mexico and abroad, the company opened this mezcaloantojería to continue this important labor.
Although in style it resembles a neighborhood cantina, the concept at Barra Alipus is a little more upscale than La Botica’s, which is reflected in the colorful decoration and the dedication shown in the excellent Oaxacan cuisine. Barra Alipús presents a cheaper, more relaxed alternative to its fancier Coyoacán counterparts without sacrificing quality. Obviously, the specialty is the house mezcal: Alipús San Juan del Rio, Santa Ana, San Baltazar, San Andrés, San Luis, and San Miguel, as well as a wide selection of creative mezcal cocktails. In addition, they offer five agave distillates from Guerreo, Michoacán, Jalisco, Durango and Sonora under the Alipús Endemic line, and a line of Oaxacan mezcales distilled in a clay pots.
For many, this small place hidden in less-traveled routes of the Centro Histórico district is the best place to taste mezcal in the CDMX. Do not expect much decoration or comfort - it's not necessarily the best place to meet friends and talk; the space is microscopic, and once it is full, the heat is stifling - but Bósforo more than makes up for it in quality and atmosphere. If you are a declared mezcal nerd, you will believe that you have reached nirvana.
The lady servers may not be the embodiment of friendliness, but if you arrive early and you’re interested in learning and experiencing different mezcales, you will not be disappointed. Once seated at the bar you will receive a plate of spicy peanuts with fried garlic, as well as the obligatory orange slices to accompany your choice of spirit. The impressive selection of mezcal - and a few other agave distillates - is written on a blackboard behind the bar, and changes frequently. If you receive a recommendation of a rare one that you may not be able to try again, accept it.
Located in the heart of Centro Histórico, this sibling to Café de Tacuba is a stylish oasis housed in an XVI century building with thick volcanic rock walls. Although the dim lights and stunning Huichol yarn paintings set the warm ambiance, the most unique features are the custom-made blown glass urns that hang from the ceiling over the bar. These hold a rotating selection of artisanal mezcales sourced directly from maestros from various producing regions in Oaxaca. The owner and operator of Limosneros, Juan Pablo Ballesteros, personally goes to the sierras of Oaxaca to carry out the process of selecting mezcales from some of the best maestros in the country, with whom he has longstanding business relationships. The urns - which bear the name of Damajuanas - were designed by Juan Pablo in Tonalá, Jalisco, and are unique in the country.
Here, the mezcales are served in traditional jicaritas (miniature gourd vesels) accompanied by agave worm, grasshopper, and ant salts. The bar also produces several mezcal cocktails and one made with Pox (or posh), a corn distillate from the Chamula communities in the state of Chiapas.
Better known as an award-winning microbrewery, Escollo offers an excellent selection of agave spirits, including mezcales from lesser-known producing states like Puebla, plus bacanora, sotol, and raicillas. The simple, laid back space is perfect for meeting friends for drinks and an above average antojito experience. On any given day, the bar boasts 60 mezcal labels in all price ranges, from your basic espadín to small production oddities that are worth exploring. If you can’t make up your mind, ask for a flight. Staff is knowledgeable and will happily offer samples and suggestions. Co-owner Juan Vaquero currently recommends trying the Punto MX espadín, and the sustainable mezcales from Koch.
The food is meant to pair with both mezcales and beer, so don’t be shy and experiment!