As summer beckons, it’s time to start thinking about exotic beverages for your garden parties. The spirit mezcal is made from the agave plant, so is similar to tequila in that respect. But goes through a very different distillation process. Drink it straight or crafted into a cocktail and here are a selection of our favourites!
Montelobos Espadin Joven Mezcal
Montelobos Joven is an artisanal Mezcal made with 100% organically certified agave Espadín in Santiago Matatlán. It is crafted by biologist and distiller Iván Saldaña and mezcalero Don Abel Lopez according to Saldaña’s vision and passion for agave and artisanal mezcal. It respects traditional production methods, sustainability, and the quality of life in the communities and families who have produced mezcal for generations.
Ojo de Dios Mezcal
An artisanal mezcal from third–generation producer Maestro Francisso Ortiz, made with sustainably farmed Espadin agave from San Luis del Rio. This agave is cooked over 10 days using local oak wood to create a soft, smoky flavour. It tastes of dried apricot, plum, toasted pineapple and black tea.
El Recuerdo Mezcal
Described in Spanish as “Abocado con Gusano” (enriched with agave worm), this mezcal has a silky, easy to drink finish and smoky flavour. It’s authentically Mexican, from the El Recuerdo distillery in the Oaxaca area and contains 100% Agave Espadín.
Presented in an Aztec meets Art Deco style of bottle, this mezcal has been matured for eight months in American white oak barrels, giving it a strong, yet sweet toasty flavour. It’s ideal for those avoiding the smokiness of many of the market alternatives and is perfect for creating a more sweet tasting cocktail.
Gem & Bolt Mezcal
Monochrome and moody, this bottle is sure to be a stylish, contemporary addition to your drinks cabinet. The branding reflects the spirit’s origins story – mezcal is said to have been born when a lightning bolt struck an agave piña (roasting and fermenting its sugars). Its contents are made from the espadín variety of agave, alongside the Mexican herb damiana.
Pensador Ensamble Batch A4
Roasted apricot, cacao, and subtle smoke blend to form this pure and organic mezcal. It’s made by hand, using artisan methods, and distilled slowly. Organic agave is used, and the fermentation process ensures the product is free from chemicals and additives. The 48% liquor comes from Atenogenes Garcia in Miahautlan, Southern Oaxaca.
The perfect gift for a lover of all things vintage, the antique styled bottle calls back to illegally smuggled mezcal. Intense but mellow, it’s sweet and spicy, aged in barrels for two to 12 months. This brand was started by Guatemalan bar owner John Rexer, who brought the mezcal from Mexico and sold it to US imbibers.
Gente de Mezcal Tobala
Made in San Baltazar de Guevila, Oaxaca, this limited-edition mezcal was produced in a batch of just 1,200 litres. Notes of vanilla, herbs, chocolate, mint and straw fuse in the 46% ABV. The tobala agave is responsible for its unique taste and requires a high quantity of the plant to create a pure and premium liquid.
Its name means “the ancient cut” (a drink supposedly so divine, it invokes the spirit of generations). The brand’s fourth-generation heritage in the art of mezcal making is renowned. Here the spirit is crushed using a tahona, naturally fermented and twice distilled in a 250-litre copper pot still. Fruity and sweet, yet smoky, it contains notes of white pepper and vegetable.
Del Maguey Chichicapa Mezcal
Visually, this has more in common with a bottle of wine than a spirit. Having been named World’s Best Mezcal at the World Spirits Competition every year from 1999-2002, Del Maguey’s mezcals are in demand. Made in the mountains, each bottle is named after the village from which it came. Complex, smoky and earthy, it includes pops of citrus.
Mezcales de Leyenda
With a potent 50% ABV, Mezcales contains hints of lemon tea and fresh herbs. This is an ethical and fairtrade brand seeking to help the marginalised communities of Mexico. Leyenda Mezcal makes small batches using sustainable practices and nine-year-old agave.
Each of El Jolgorio’s bottles is named after the ‘revelries’ (small local festivals), and are hand-marked with the unique details of that batch, making them collector’s items. 10-year-old wild and semi-wild agave is harvested to craft this 100% Espadín mezcal, with ingredients including rosemary, tropical fruit, dill and mint.
Read our guide to the best luxury Tequilas