The Best Mezcal $50 (Or Under) Can Buy!

Mezcal has been gaining popularity at a rapid pace over the past few years. If you haven't tried mezcal yet, here are some great options that won't cost you an arm and a leg.
Mar 31, 2016
  • 10
    10 Mezcal Jaral de Berrio
    90
    Though mezcal is most associated with the state of Oaxaca, it is also a protected designation in 7 other states. Jaral de Berrio hails from the borough of San Felipe Torres Mochas in Guanajuato, where the Salmiana (the word for "plant") agave for this mezcal grows. It's named for the Marquis of Jaral de Berrio, who was granted permission from the King of Spain to allow the distillation of the first mezcal in the late 18th century in what was then "New Spain" at the family Hacienda, now one of the top tourist attractions in the area. Jaral de Berrio mezcal is produced using traditional methods - clay oven, manual crushing, copper pot distillation, etc. - and is bottled unaged off the still.
  • 9
    9 Bruxo No.1 Espadín Mezcal
    90
    Bruxo is a project begun in 2010 by a group of friends who share a love of agave spirits and dedication to producing mezcal in the traditional way. Different maestros or mezcaleros create each of their expressions. This one is the work of Lucio Morales Lopez using espadín that is 7 - 8 years old upon harvest. It's distilled twice in copper pot stills.
  • 8
    8 Sombra Mezcal
    90
    Sombra was created as a passion project of famed sommelier and wine negociant Richard Betts of Betts & Scholls. Created as a stance against the “Vodka-ization” of Agave spirits, this is meant to jump out in a cocktail. It is 100% espadín that are first grown in the villages of San Juan del Rio and San Juan before being uprooted and planted on the slopes of the Sierras in Oaxaca. After roasting for 2 days in a stone pit with an oak fire source, the agaves are crushed in a tahona (stone wheel) and then allowed to ferment naturally for 8 days.
  • 7
    7 Mezcal Alipús San Baltazar
    90
    A spirit with “heart”. Alipús is a co-op made up of mezcal producers throughout Oaxaca. With the help of Los Danzantes they have banded together to produce a series of single-village mezcals, each displaying the particular terroir and traditions of each mezcalero and village. San Balthazar carries the distinction of being fermented using wild yeast in pine vats by Mezcalero Don Cosme Hernandez. It is a “high elevation” mezcal made from agave espadín grown at an elevation of 5,700ft in very rocky soil. .
  • 6
    6 Wahaka Mezcal Espadín
    91
    This entry-level espadín mezcal from Wahaka is made from agave that’s sustainably grown on a palenque that mezcalero Alberto “Beto” Morales describes as “a place of respect and harmony, where no arguments or even bad words may be uttered.” Certified organic by the USDA and Mayacert, Morales’ distillation process includes the use of a traditional tahona and double distillation in a copper alembic.
  • 5
    5 Mezcal Alipús San Andres
    91
    Alipús is a product line of traditionally made village mezcals created by the group behind the Los Danzantes (aka Los Nahuales) line of mezcals. Each expression highlights a different village and distiller. San Andrés is fermented using wild yeasts in cypress vats before it is double distilled in a copper pot still. Don Valente Angel Garcia Juárez distills this espadín mezcal in the village of San Andrés in Xitlapehua, Oaxaca.
  • 4
    4 Mezcal Gracias a Dios Espadín Reposado
    92
    Gracias a Dios is committed to fair trade and sustainable practices, under the leadership of maestro mezcalero Oscar Hernández Santiago. The organic espadín is 8 years old at harvest and undergoes double-distillation. The spirit spends 4 months in ex-bourbon casks.
  • 3
    3 Mezcal Amarás Espadín Joven
    92
    The brand, which translates to "you will love," was founded by Jorge Rodríguez-Cano and Santiago Suárez Cordova. It's a collaboration between 5 mezcaleros in the village of San Juan del Río in Oaxaca. It's made from 100% Espadín grown in the surrounding hills near the distillery that is roasted for 5 days in conical ovens over Holm Oak logs. It's made the traditional way with horse-drawn mills for grinding, open pine containers for fermenting and copper pot distilling. Both the agave and the logs used to roast it are used sustainably, with a number of replanting for every one taken.
  • 2
    2 Mezcal de las Hormigas
    94
    Mezcal de las Hormigas is an offshoot of Espíritu Lauro that is made with the same dedication to natural processes. It's produced with no added sugars and is fermented without the use of yeast. This mezcal is composed of 100% espadín grown around the distillery and its neighbor, aged 6-7 years old before harvest, and it is only once distilled. Fun fact: the donkeys who pull the mill to mash the agave are father and son, and apparently argue incessantly!
  • 1
    1 Los Vecinos del Campo Espadin Mezcal
    95
    Los Vecinos del Campo Mezcal brand is a partnership between Sazerac and Casa San Matias. The mezcals are produced in small batches by a group of ten master mezcaleros in the Valles Centrales of Oaxaca. This Espadín expression is double distilled and bottled at 90 proof.