While the rest of the country is still fixated on cheap tequila shots—mostly likely blanco because they don’t know any better, those with a more refined palate are switching over to its less pedestrian cousin from the south.
Originating from Oaxaca, smoky, earthy mezcal still has a fairly small market, so small that it’s only currently being exported to fewer than 30 countries. It isn’t, therefore, easily on hand in most bars in the United States. Yet those in the know in hip cities like New York and Austin don’t just sip it, swish it around in their mouths and then drink it neat; they also invent the most incredible cocktails with it.
In the art of mezcal mixology, the city that perhaps takes the lead is Los Angeles where these days, the spots that matter are those with mezcal on their cocktails list.
Top mixologist and cocktail ambassador for Los Angeles Beau du Bois takes the helm at The Corner Door, Culver City’s friendly neighborhood bar. The cozy space, which has been given a fresh new look this year with vintage photographs, old-fashioned ceiling light fixtures and padded leather chairs, is a favorite local haunt not just for its ambiance but also for its excellent menu of quick bites and hearty plates.
Most importantly, thanks in large part to du Bois’ genius, it’s also got some of the best mezcal cocktails west of Hollywood. Premium El Silencio mezcal takes center stage in his Mezcallin, a tart yet sweet concoction of lemon, ginger and pineapple gomme that proves to be a great gateway cocktail for non mezcal drinkers.