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Paper Plane.
Paper Plane.
Photos: Sarah Dodge

Eleven Epic Mezcal Cocktails to Try This Summer

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Paper Plane.
| Photos: Sarah Dodge

Forget margaritas and celebrate summer with tequila's smoky sibling, mezcal. Terroir-driven, much like wine, the many varieties of mezcal provide a bold alternative to tequila— and even to whiskey. Here in Atlanta, bartenders use the spirit well (see: Greg Best's corn-a-rita, which also had raw corn milk, lemon, and pepper-infused honey, at last year's Atlanta Food & Wine Festival), so we've rounded up twelve of the city's best mezcal cocktails.
—Angela Hansberger


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The Sound Table

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The Manhattan-esque El Sicario is a barrel-aged mix of rye, the bitter and spicy Amaro Nonino, Fernet Branca, and Sombra mezcal.

The Optimist

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Smoke on the Water does smokiness three ways: Vida mezcal, scotch, and a Laphroaig floater. It's also got crème de cassis and lemon.

Seven Lamps

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Prepare to die in a good way with Inigo Montoya, a concoction of small batch Sombra mezcal, Seven Lamps's "Fo" orange soda, and carbonated House Spirits Coffee Liqueur.

Empire State South

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The Polcano balances the smokiness of Sombra mezcal with the bitter orange of Aperol, Kummel's caraway and cumin, and salted kumquat syrup.

The Pinewood Tippling Room

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El Pichon pairs mezcal with black cardamom soda and includes Sal De Gusano, a traditional Oaxacan worm salt made from ground gusanos (worms), peppers, and salt. Legit.

Paper Plane

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The dusty pink Trouble in Paradise proves complex on the nose and palate thanks to the vanilla tones of white cacao, which mellow out the mezcal and bring a "grassy brightness" into the cocktail.

Leon's Full Service

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Miles Macquarrie’s El Mirage has lime and pineapple to counterbalance del Maguey Vida mezcal, plus green chartreuse and jalapeno for spiciness.

No. 246

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In addition to mezcal, find citrus, shaken egg white, and Aperol in No. 246's Where There’s Smoke.

4th & Swift

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The on-the-rocks Mexican Rx at 4th & Swift has tequila, mezcal, agave, King's Ginger liqueur, and lime.

Holeman & Finch Public House

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The Will & the Word at Holeman and Finch uses lemon, rich Fidencio mezcal, Leopold Bros. Three Pin Liqueur, and Imbue's Petal & Thorn. It has Peychaud's bitters floated on top.

In Lure's cocktail No Ma'am, the plum wine's sweetness complements the smokiness of the Vida mezcal. Also: plum bitters and Prosecco.

Miso Izakaya

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Smoke in the Colonies at Mizo Izakaya uses Farmer’s Organic gin, Vida mezcal, peach shrub, and a citrus-vanilla syrup.

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The Sound Table

The Manhattan-esque El Sicario is a barrel-aged mix of rye, the bitter and spicy Amaro Nonino, Fernet Branca, and Sombra mezcal.

The Optimist

Smoke on the Water does smokiness three ways: Vida mezcal, scotch, and a Laphroaig floater. It's also got crème de cassis and lemon.

Seven Lamps

Prepare to die in a good way with Inigo Montoya, a concoction of small batch Sombra mezcal, Seven Lamps's "Fo" orange soda, and carbonated House Spirits Coffee Liqueur.

Empire State South

The Polcano balances the smokiness of Sombra mezcal with the bitter orange of Aperol, Kummel's caraway and cumin, and salted kumquat syrup.

The Pinewood Tippling Room

El Pichon pairs mezcal with black cardamom soda and includes Sal De Gusano, a traditional Oaxacan worm salt made from ground gusanos (worms), peppers, and salt. Legit.

Paper Plane

The dusty pink Trouble in Paradise proves complex on the nose and palate thanks to the vanilla tones of white cacao, which mellow out the mezcal and bring a "grassy brightness" into the cocktail.

Leon's Full Service

Miles Macquarrie’s El Mirage has lime and pineapple to counterbalance del Maguey Vida mezcal, plus green chartreuse and jalapeno for spiciness.

No. 246

In addition to mezcal, find citrus, shaken egg white, and Aperol in No. 246's Where There’s Smoke.

4th & Swift

The on-the-rocks Mexican Rx at 4th & Swift has tequila, mezcal, agave, King's Ginger liqueur, and lime.

Holeman & Finch Public House

The Will & the Word at Holeman and Finch uses lemon, rich Fidencio mezcal, Leopold Bros. Three Pin Liqueur, and Imbue's Petal & Thorn. It has Peychaud's bitters floated on top.

Lure

In Lure's cocktail No Ma'am, the plum wine's sweetness complements the smokiness of the Vida mezcal. Also: plum bitters and Prosecco.

Miso Izakaya

Smoke in the Colonies at Mizo Izakaya uses Farmer’s Organic gin, Vida mezcal, peach shrub, and a citrus-vanilla syrup.

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