Once tequila’s frumpy country cousin mezcal has become the tipple du jour in Mexico, especially amongst the hipper intellectual set. While tequila was the drink of choice at parties and cantinas all over the country, mezcal was traditionally regarded as low-class moonshine imbibed only by labourers.
But in the last few years, mezcalerias (dedicated mezcal bars) have sprung up all over Mexico City, including pioneer La Botica, whose combination of affordable prices and low-key, edgy design has been instrumental in introducing mezcal to the younger generation. Alan Ibarra, a mezcallier (mezcal sommelier) and partner in mezcal label Milagrito del Corazón, runs mezcal tastings all over the city in restaurants and bars aimed at promoting brands, but also to educate people about the culture and 'spirituality' of the drink.
Here Mezcallier Alan Ibarra recommends his top six mezcals:
2. Mezcales Sansekan, Chilapa, Guerrero
3. A Punto de Veneno
4. Pierde Almas
5. La Venencia,Yogana, Ejutla, Oaxaca
6. Los Amantes
Alan Ibarra recommends his top six mezcalerias:
1. La Clandestina: Álvaro Obregón, corner of Nuevo León, Col. Roma, Mexico City; www.milagrito.com
2. La Pata Negra: Tamualipas 30, Col. Condesa, Mexico City; tel 52.55 5211 4678; www.patanegra.com.mx
3. Cafe El Central: Hidalgo 302, Oaxaca; tel 52.951 516 8505
4. El Covadonga: Puebla #121, Colonia Roma, Mexico City; tel 52.55 5533 2701
5. Red Fly: Orizaba 145, Colonia Roma; tel: 52.55 5264 6339
6. Xel-Ha: Parral 78, Col. Condesa, Mexico City; tel 52.55 5553 5968