10 Tasty Mezcal Brands For Sipping


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Mezcal has thankfully shed its reputation as gut-rotting liquor with a worm in it. Nowadays, it is enjoying enormous popularity, not only as an exciting mixer but the best mezcal brands for sipping allow to enjoy this spirit the traditional way.

What Is Mezcal?

Mezcal is a drink made from roasted, fermented, and distilled agave. It is the parent drink of tequila (which is technically a variety of mezcal that may only be made from blue agave in certain states of Mexico). In contrast, mezcal may be made from any agave.

How Is Mezcal Made? 

Mezcal is made by harvesting farmed or wild agave and trimming off the roots and leaves to leave the heart or piña, which contains fermentable sugars. 

The piñas are roasted in underground pit ovens and then ground into a mash by a horse-drawn stone wheel. The mash ferments and is double distilled in clay or copper stills before bottling.

What Does Mezcal Taste Like?

Mezcal has intense savoury, bitter, and sour qualities and smokiness due to the roasting process. Taste notes include botanical notes such as liquorice and pepper, delicate floral and fruity flavours, plus sometimes a subtle chemical twang of petrol.

Interestingly, artisanal mezcals can have all sorts of subtle flavours. These stem from the type of agave, the terroir (the land they are grown), and the production process.

Best Mezcal Brands For Sipping

Here are ten of the best mezcals for sipping. Most are produced from the espadín variety of agave and are ‘joven mezcals’ (young/unaged); unlike with tequila, joven mezcal is ready to be sipped.

1. QuiQuiRiQui Matatlan Mezcal

QuiQuiRiQui Matatlan Mezcal
Credit: QuiQuiRiQui

Overview

  • Brand: QuiQuiRiQui
  • ABV: 45% (90 Proof)
  • Country: Mexico
  • Colour: Clear

Review

QuiQuiRiQui mezcal is handcrafted in Santiago de Matatlán, Oaxaca state.
It is a joven mezcal, produced entirely from lowland-grown espadín agave using double distillation.

Taste Notes

Vegetal sweetness combines with bonfire smoke, earthy elements, apricot notes, and a hint of cracked black pepper. The aftertaste has a touch of dark chocolate and smokiness.

Presentation

QuiQuiRiQui Matatlan is presented in a tall, round-shouldered bottle with an oval black label depicting a funky rooster and chunky lettering saying “QuiQuiRiQui.”

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

2. Dos Hombres Mezcal

Dos Hombres Mezcal
Credit: Dos Ombres

Overview

  • Brand: Dos Hombres
  • ABV: 42% (84 Proof)
  • Country: Mexico
  • Colour: Clear

Review

Founded by the stars of Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, award-winning Dos Hombres is made in San Luis del Rio in Oaxaca.

This joven mezcal is made from espadín agave; Dos Hombres is fermented in wooden tubs, lending it a distinctly woody flavour.

Taste Notes

A smooth and creamy mezcal tasting of citrus, mango, and Mexican zapote fruit, with softwood notes and a discreet, soft smokiness, the smokiness and creaminess linger.

Presentation

Dos Hombres is presented in a clear, square-shouldered bottle, with a white label depicting two burros facing each other, the name Dos Hombres, and the signatures of Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

3. Dangerous Don Espadin Mezcal

Dangerous Don Espadin Mezcal
Credit: Dangerous Don

Overview

  • Brand: Dangerous Don
  • ABV: 44% (90 Proof)
  • Country: Mexico
  • Colour: Clear

Review

Dangerous Don mezcal was founded in 2015 by Londoner Thea Cumming, and is produced in Oaxaca using traditional methods. It is a joven mezcal produced from 100% espadín agave.

Taste Notes

This mezcal showcases sweet espadín agave and grassy notes wrapped in aromatic smokiness with an aftertaste of citrus.

Presentation

Dangerous Don is presented in a clear, square-shouldered bottle with scribbled text and a pen and ink drawing of an agave field and a mountain.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

4. Montelobos Joven Mezcal

Montelobos Joven Mezcal
Credit: Montelobos

Overview

  • Brand: Montelobos
  • ABV: 43.2% (86.4 Proof)
  • Country: Mexico
  • Colour: Clear

Review

Developed by agave academic Dr. Iván Saldaña, Montelobos comes from agave cultivated in the shadow of Montelobos (Mountain of Wolves) in Oaxaca. It is a joven mezcal made from 100% espadín agave. Pairs well with a crisp Mexican beer.

Taste Notes

Honeyed sweetness and green pepper smokiness blend with a mineral streak and vanilla and black pepper notes. The aftertaste is mildly smoky with hints of bacon and black pepper.

Presentation

Montelobos Joven Mezcal is presented in a chunky, bevelled bottle with a black label depicting a snarling wolf. A chunky black stopper adds to the look.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

5. Ilegal Joven Mezcal

Ilegal Joven Mezcal
Credit: Ilegal

Overview

  • Brand: Ilegal
  • ABV: 40% (80 Proof)
  • Country: Mexico
  • Colour: Clear

Review

In 2004, John Rexer began importing mezcal from various villages in Oaxaca to Antigua, Guatemala, to supply his mezcal bar, Café No Sé, under the name Ilegal.

Ilegal Joven is a joven mezcal produced from espadín agave cooked with mesquite and eucalyptus wood.

Taste Notes

This mezcal showcases mineral and smoky eucalyptus flavours with hints of Corinth raisins, tobacco, citrus, and chiltepin chilli, with a smoky tobacco aftertaste.

Presentation

Ilegal Joven Mezcal is presented in slim bottles with a parchment-style label, and they are sealed with black wax and hand-numbered. On the back, it refers to Café No Sé.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

6. Monte Alban Mezcal

Monte Alban Mezcal
Credit: Sazerac

Overview

  • Brand: Sazerac
  • ABV: 40% (80 Proof)
  • Country: Mexico
  • Colour: Clear

Review

Named after the ancient Zapotec hilltop settlement in Oaxaca, Monte Alban was the first mezcal to receive an export contract in 1975 and has stood the test of time.

Monte Alban is a joven mezcal with a pale amber colour produced from 100% agave. Each bottle contains a gusano, or “worm.”

Taste Notes

Flavours of oak and chutney mix with sweet spices and char-grilled peppers. The aftertaste is bitter, with a slight smokiness.

Presentation

Monte Alban is presented in a bottle reminiscent of an olive oil bottle, with a yellow and red label that notes the presence of the worm.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

7. Madre Mezcal

Madre Mezcal
Credit: Madre Merzcal

Overview

  • Brand: Madre Mezcal
  • ABV: 45% (90 Proof)
  • Country: Mexico
  • Colour: Clear

Review

An artisanal mezcal made in the Oaxacan Sierra Madre, Madre Mezcal is made by three families of mezcaleros. It is a joven mezcal made from a blend of espadín and cuishe agaves, giving it different flavors than most mezcals.

Taste Notes

Sweet mint and white floral notes with overtones of grass and smoke and a lingering peppery aftertaste.

Presentation

Madre Mezcal is presented in a 200ml flask with a Grolsch-style swing-top. The white label bears red lettering and a drawing of a woman with a bull.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

8. Papadiablo Mezcal Especial

Papadiablo Mezcal Especial
Credit: Papadiablo

Overview

  • Brand: Papadiablo
  • ABV: 47.7% (95.4 Proof)
  • Country: Mexico
  • Colour: Clear

Review

Named for the Pope and the devil to symbolize the eternal battle between good and evil, Papadiablo is distilled in Miahuatlan by Don Bet.

This tasty joven mezcal is created from a blend of wild madrecuishe, bichuishe, and mexicana agaves with some espadín.

Taste Notes

vegetal agave, pineapple, and char-grilled pepper notes with gentle saltiness and peatiness. Aftertaste vegetal and flinty.

Presentation

Papadiablo Mezcal Especial is presented in a distinctive bottle that widens from the bottom to the shoulders before abruptly narrowing to the neck, stoppered with natural cork. Below a pebbled section, a slim red band proclaims “Papadiablo.”

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

9. Alipús San Juan Mezcal

Alipús San Juan Mezcal
Credit: Alipus

Overview

  • Brand: Alipús
  • ABV: 47.3% (94.6 Proof)
  • Country: Mexico
  • Colour: Clear

Review

Los Danzantes owns the Alipús brand, which sources mezcals from smaller producers. This one is made in San Juan del Rio in the Sierra Norte of Oaxaca.

It is a joven mezcal made from espadín agave. The iron-rich soil of the Sierra Norte contributes to its flavour.

Taste Notes

Unusual notes of roasted broccoli, crispy bacon, and menthol combined with tar and smokiness. The aftertaste displays lingering tar and smoke with black pepper.

Presentation

Alipús San Juan is presented in a slim, round-shouldered bottle with a small, red label reading “San Juan” and a larger, funky black and white one reading “Alipús.”

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

10. Se Busca Mezcal Añejo

Se Busca Mezcal Añejo
Credit: Se Busca

Overview

  • Brand: Se Busca
  • ABV: 40% (80 Proof)
  • Country: Mexico
  • Colour: Clear

Review

From the Spanish for “wanted,” the name Se Busca is a tribute to the women who fought in the Mexican Revolution. This mezcal is añejo, or aged, showcasing heavy oak influence and deep golden colour.

Taste Notes

Rich mesquite smoke combines with salted caramel, raisins, and oak notes alongside rich agave. The aftertaste is lingering, vegetal, and spicy.

Presentation

Se Busca Mezcal Añejo is presented in a slope-shouldered bottle with a long neck. It bears a rich black and gold label.

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

Seperator

Andrew’s Top Pick

best Mezcal

Dos Hombres Mezcal

OK, I admit it, the Breaking Bad marketing got to me; That aside, Dos Hombres Mezcal is a smooth and fruity jovan mezcal with a soft woody finish and a moreish touch of smoke.

Conclusion

So, there you have it; 10 of the best Mezcal brands for sipping. When I started my adventure into the rabbit hole of mezcal I must confess I was apprehensive. Stories of worms and scorpions residing in the bottle, plus rumours of it being so strong you could go blind just by looking at it. Also, check out my article on Sotol, a distant cousin of tequila and mezcal.

The good news is that although mezcal is indeed strong and could probably be used to degrease engines, incredible flavours awaiting your delight your tastebuds.

Further Reading

Below are some additional articles from The Drinks Geek blog. We write articles on several fascinating areas of drinks, including different brands, drink types, cocktail recipes and more.

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