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Mezcal's Having a Moment

[Eric Johnson by Bob Lajes, Mezcal Gimlet via The Linkery, Jen Queen by Andi Pianalto]

WhenEater San Diego recently asked two top local mixologists — Eric Johnson (Sycamore Den, Noble Experiment) and Jen Queen (Searsucker, Gabardine, Monello) — their thoughts about the next spirit to command the spotlight, both pointed to mezcal, tequila's bolder, smoky southern relation.

Jay Porter, proprietor of The Linkery and El Take It Easy, is a major mezcal fan. He writes, "What makes mezcal — specifically, old-school, rustic, artisanal mezcal -— special to me is that it's a distilled spirit that expresses the idea of terroir. Each mezcal has its own character depending on the variety of maguey, the wood (usually local to the palenque where the mezcal is made) used to smoke the piñas, and the cultural history and ideas of the mezcalero. In this way, mezcal is like wine, with practically infinite possibilities but also tracing out a cultural and physical landscape of the areas where it's made. Also, it helps that mezcal is delicious."

ETIE's signature mezcal drink is the Long Goodbye, a mezcal gimlet (see recipe below). Mondays are mezcal mania at the North Park bar and restaurant, when they do mezcal-spiked versions of classic cocktails and offer a $12 mezcal flight. Some other SD spots that'll give you a mezcal education include Cantina Mayaheul and El Vitral.
· Mezcal Gimlet Recipe [Esquire]
· Mezcal Steps Up, Meet Tequila's Crazy Agave Kin {BevMedia]

El Take It Easy

3926 30th Street, San Diego, CA. (619) 291-1859