Mezcal is passing a moment.
In the past few years, mezcal, the Mexican spirit distilled from the heart of the Maguey plant, has undergone a major transformation in reputation.
Made primarily in Oaxaca, mezcals are a single distilled, and often smoked, cousin of tequila. The spirit was finally recognized as an artisanal product that embodies the land, traditions, and people of Mexico.
Across South Florida, a number of bars and restaurants serve mezcal as a solo soul worthy of a sip or as the main attraction in a delicious libation. This is especially true in Miami, where many establishments offer unique tasting trips and small sips that let you explore this daring alternative to tequila.
2801 NW Second Ave. Miami
Bakan, located in Wynwood, recently launched a mezcal tasting experience. Guided by Benjamin Vargas, head of the restaurant, Mezcalier, guests are immersed in the history and traditions of Mexico via Mezcal Air’s flight. The tiered experience features three mezcal options in your choice of four categories: Beginner, Professional, Celebration, and Premium. Each ride comes with three types of mezcal. Prices vary by level, depending on whether you opt for a sip or a shot. The starter option ranges from $23 to $42, the professional from $47 to $90, the celebration from $73 to $137, and the premium from $196 to $377.
1825 Griffin Road, Dania Beach
A cozy space that mimics the look and feel of a library adorned with leather books, reading lamps, and even your very own “library card” program, La Biblioteca de Tequila (Tequila Library) is every tequila lover’s dream. Located within Le Méridien Dania Beach, the bar is a premium space separate from the hotel’s signature restaurant, Toro Toro, and offers guests the opportunity to take part in a diverse catalog of over 300 premium tequilas, as well as mezcals and homemade infusions. Advanced brews can brew, test and store your favorite brew. Different distillation and aging methods impart a wide range of flavor profiles, so tasting allows many ways to experience the distinct flavors of the spirits. Three serve vertical and premium tequila tastings, while a fourth, specifically for mezcal, is priced at $21 per person.
127 NW 23rd St. Miami
Mayami Mexicantina offers a journey of bug-infested mezcal shots, which take you on a flavor journey you won’t find anywhere else in the city. At $15 per shot, options include “Escorpion Real,” flavored with scorpion and spice; “Mago Maguy” is flavored with worms and herbs. and “roaring cricket” with crickets and peaches. Although these options are not offered as a traditional excursion, there is nothing to stop you from sampling each of them and making your own insect excursion.
915 Washington Street, Miami Beach
The new, intimate Moxy Lounge has an impressive selection of over 200 mezcals, but it can be hard to know where to start. To help guests learn more about the ancient traditions of mezcal, Mezcalista recently launched a mezcal tasting menu led by the in-house mezcalier. In addition to their new mezcal tasting menu, Mezcalista has rolled out the perfect pairing: an original Chex Mix snack.” A spiced chipotle mix made with Chex beans, chapulines (a grasshopper eaten in certain parts of Mexico, including the state of Oaxaca), chicharrón, combinations Cheddar, cashews, peanuts, and golden raisins topped with Oaxacan chocolate, chipotle morita powder and homemade chipotle pickles.