Top Mezcal Picks for Cocktails

These unaged mezcals will work well in cocktails without breaking the bank. They all come in under $50 and would be great additions to your margaritas or palomas.
May 05, 2019
  • 12
    12 Creyente Mezcal Joven
    80
    Fruity
    Mezcal Creyente Joven is a blend of two mezcals from the Oaxaca, Mexico regions of Tlacolula and Yautepec made from espadín agave. The two mezcals are produced traditionally, but separately. Following the distillation process, the mezcals are blended together before bottling.
  • 11
    11 Gem + Bolt Mezcal with Damiana
    82
    Sweet & Herbal
    Gem + Bolt is a project started by to Virginian artists who were seduced by the mystique, history, and deliciousness of Oaxaca’s mezcal tradition. Damiana, a local herb thought to have a plethora of benefits including “endowing mythic powers in the bedroom,” is added to the mezcal made from espadín agave. The agave is fair trade, organic, and sustainable and no additives are added to the finished product.
  • 10
    10 Ilegal Mezcal Joven
    82
    Smoky
    Some time in the late 90s/early 2000s, John Rexer visited Oaxaca and fell in love with a certain mezcal, which he smuggled back to his bar in Antigua, Guatemala. It was so popular among the regular crowd of rag tag artists and musicians at Café No Sé that he decided to import it legitimately. The joven, made from 100% agave espadín, is bottled un-aged.
  • 9
    9 Del Maguey Vida Mezcal
    84
    Smoky & Spicy
    Introduced in 2010, Del Maguey Vida Mezcal is an artisanal single-village organic mezcal made from espadín agaves. These agaves are harvested from the village of San Luis del Rio in Oaxaca. Roasting of the agaves lasts for 3-8 days followed by an 8-10 day wild fermentation. The mezcal is twice distilled in wood-fired copper stills. Bottled at 84 proof.
  • 8
    8 Miel De Tierra Joven
    84
    Sweet & Earthy
    Hailing from Zacatecas — much farther north than the center of mezcal production in Oaxaca — the Miel de Tierra line seeks to show more elegant and earthy flavors than the typical smoky and wild examples from the south. Although much of the line features aging in local, virgin oak, this joven pours an inviting, crystal clear.
  • 7
    7 El Buho Mezcal
    85
    Herbal & Rich
    El Buho (Spanish for "The Owl") is a mezcal from 100% espadín and produced in Santiago Mátatlan, Oaxaca. After a week-long roast in a stone pit, the agaves are crushed with a horse-pulled tahona. It is unaged and hand bottled at 86 proof.
  • 6
    6 Mezcal El Silencio Espadín
    87
    Earthy
    This is the second release from El Silencio following up their Joven ensemble bottling. It is meant as more of an introductory bottling and is priced accordingly. Made from 100% espadín, this is distilled in San Baltazar Guelavila, Oaxaca and made by Master Mescalier Pedro Hernandez. It is produced traditionally with agaves roasted in a mesquite-lined pit and the agaves are crushed by a horse-drawn tahona. Natural fermentation is allowed and the mezcal is double-distilled in copper pot stills.
  • 5
    5 Montelobos Espadín Mezcal Joven
    87
    Smoky & Salty
    Montelobos (mountain of wolves) is an unaged mezcal produced from organic espadín agave. The agaves are sourced from Loma Larga in Santiago Matatlán Oaxaca. After roasting for 5-7 days in a volcanic stone pit, the agaves are crushed with a tahona and allowed to naturally ferment. Montelobos was created by Dr. Iván Saldaña and is produced by 5th generation mezcalero, Don Abel Lopez.
  • 4
    4 Fidencio Clásico Mezcal
    89
    Earthy & Fruity
    One of the few mezcals that are both organic and biodynamic. Fidencio Clásico is made using 100% espadín agave from Santiago Matatlán, Oaxaca. The agaves are roasted for three days in a traditional method using a stone-lined earthen pit. Fermented using ambient yeast and twice-distilled using an old cognac-style still.
  • 3
    3 Sombra Mezcal
    90
    Rich & Smoky
    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.
  • 2
    2 Wahaka Mezcal Espadín
    91
    Herbal & Umami
    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.
  • 1
    1 Los Vecinos del Campo Espadin Mezcal
    95
    Umami
    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.