Mezcal is a bold agave spirit with a complex flavor profile and distinct smoky notes. It's closely related to Tequila -Actually, Tequila is a specific subtype of Mezcal.
However, the taste of Mezcal is far different from that of Tequila. It can be very, very smoky.
Therefore, use it carefully in mixed drink recipes. Using too much can be overwhelming, especially for people new to the spirit.
Similar to Tequila, there are many different types of Mezcal available. The classification depends on the production process, the agave used to distill the spirit, and the aging time in wooden barrels.
The results are very diverse in flavor and complexity. For instance, Joven Mezcals are typically crisp and fresh. Añejo and Extra Añejo Mezcals will be much rounder and mellow in taste.
If you want to try Mezcal neat, check out how to drink Mezcal the right way.
There are a number of recipes that will make Mezcal shine. And if you're searching for the best Mezcal drinks, look no further.
The best Mezcal cocktails to try
Here's our list of the best Mezcal cocktails to make at home. There is something for everyone: From complex recipes to more simple Mezcal cocktails.
A Margarita not only works when made with Tequila. In fact, it is one of the top Mezcal cocktails.
The smoky notes from the Mezcal and the simplicity of the recipe make the Mezcal Margarita the perfect cocktail for mixing at home.
If you like tart cocktails and drinks with a salty rim, give this one a try. And to make this recipe even funkier, you can apply a mix of salt and tajin spice to the glass.
That adds a nice spicy touch to the cocktail that works well with the smoky flavor.
This Mezcal cocktail is a riff on the classic Negroni cocktail. To me, it is one of the best smoky Mezcal cocktails. It brings subtle smokiness into the boldly flavored aperitivo cocktail.
The Mezcal Negroni is an equal parts cocktail that is easy to make but tastes fabulous. And when served over a large chunk of ice and garnished with an orange peel, it has a truly elegant visual, as well.
Oaxaca Old Fashioned
The Oaxaca Old Fashioned was one of the main reasons Mezcal became so famous in the mid-2000s.
When Phil Ward came up with the recipe while working at Death & Co in New York City in 2007, only a few had heard of Mezcal up until then.
In contrast to the Mezcal Old Fashioned, Ward's drink uses a split-base of Mezcal and Tequila. That adds very subtle notes oz Mezcal, perfect for people new to the bold and smoky flavors.
Overall, my favorite Mezcal cocktail is the Mezcal Sour. The recipe is well-balanced and complex in flavor, yet still super easy to make.
In addition to the Mezcal, there's a second flavor bomb with the Italian Amaro. This burst of flavors incorporated into the sour cocktail template and combined with a frothy egg white foam is just fantastic.
This cocktail has a sensational mouthfeel, is complex, and, at the same time, super refreshing.
If you don't like the thought of using raw egg white in cocktails, you can replace the egg with aquafaba. This way, you turn the drink into a vegan cocktail.
Mezcal Old Fashioned
If you're looking for smoky Mezcal cocktails, this version of an Old Fashioned might be perfect for you.
By using your favorite smoky Mezcal as a base spirit, you can create a fantastic smoky Old Fashioned.
There's just a little bit of sweetness that comes from the syrup. And the cocktail bitters round off the drink. But still, the Mezcal remains the star of the show.
Mezcal works great with spicy flavors. And therefore replacing Vodka with Mezcal in a classic Moscow Mule is a great thing to do.
The Mezcal Mule is a gorgeously smoky and spicy cocktail. The kick from ginger beer, the smoky notes of the agave spirit, and the tangy bite of fresh lime juice are a superb combination of flavors.
Serve it in a copper mug and garnish with fresh mint, just like the iconic classic Moscow Mule.
Besides the Margarita, the Paloma is probably the most popular Mexican cocktail.
The recipe for making an outstanding Mezcal Paloma is simple: Fresh grapefruit juice, lime juice, Mezcal, agave syrup, and chilled soda water.
The result is a delightful cocktail that ticks all the boxes. It is smoky, sweet, sour, fruity, and super refreshing. Garnish it with a rim of flaky sea salt, and the Mezcal Paloma is the perfect poolside sip.