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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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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. The Sound Table

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483 Edgewood Ave. SE
Atlanta, GA 30312
(404) 835-2534
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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.

2. The Optimist

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914 Howell Mill Road
Atlanta, GA 30318
(404) 477-6260
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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.

3. Seven Lamps

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3400 Around Lenox Rd NE
Atlanta, GA 30326
(404) 467-8950
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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.

4. Empire State South

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999 Peachtree St NE
Atlanta, GA 30309
(404) 541-1105
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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.

5. The Pinewood Tippling Room

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254 W Ponce de Leon Ave
Decatur, GA 30030
(404) 373-5507
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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.

6. Paper Plane

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340 Church St
Decatur, GA 30030
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.

7. Leon's Full Service

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131 E Ponce de Leon Ave
Decatur, GA 30030
(404) 687-0500
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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.

8. No. 246

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129 E Ponce de Leon Ave
Decatur, GA 30030
(678) 399-8246
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In addition to mezcal, find citrus, shaken egg white, and Aperol in No. 246's Where There’s Smoke.

9. 4th & Swift

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621 North Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30308
(678) 904-0160
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The on-the-rocks Mexican Rx at 4th & Swift has tequila, mezcal, agave, King's Ginger liqueur, and lime.

10. Holeman & Finch Public House

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2277 Peachtree Rd NE
Atlanta, GA 30309
(404) 948-1175
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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.

11. Lure

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1106 Crescent Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30309
(404) 815-4700
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In Lure's cocktail No Ma'am, the plum wine's sweetness complements the smokiness of the Vida mezcal. Also: plum bitters and Prosecco.

12. Miso Izakaya

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619 Edgewood Ave SE
Atlanta, GA 30312
(678) 701-0128
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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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1. The Sound Table

483 Edgewood Ave. SE, Atlanta, GA 30312
The Manhattan-esque El Sicario is a barrel-aged mix of rye, the bitter and spicy Amaro Nonino, Fernet Branca, and Sombra mezcal.
483 Edgewood Ave. SE
Atlanta, GA 30312

2. The Optimist

914 Howell Mill Road, Atlanta, GA 30318
Smoke on the Water does smokiness three ways: Vida mezcal, scotch, and a Laphroaig floater. It's also got crème de cassis and lemon.
914 Howell Mill Road
Atlanta, GA 30318

3. Seven Lamps

3400 Around Lenox Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30326
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.
3400 Around Lenox Rd NE
Atlanta, GA 30326

4. Empire State South

999 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta, GA 30309
The Polcano balances the smokiness of Sombra mezcal with the bitter orange of Aperol, Kummel's caraway and cumin, and salted kumquat syrup.
999 Peachtree St NE
Atlanta, GA 30309

5. The Pinewood Tippling Room

254 W Ponce de Leon Ave, Decatur, GA 30030
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.
254 W Ponce de Leon Ave
Decatur, GA 30030

6. Paper Plane

340 Church St, Decatur, GA 30030
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.
340 Church St
Decatur, GA 30030

7. Leon's Full Service

131 E Ponce de Leon Ave, Decatur, GA 30030
Miles Macquarrie’s El Mirage has lime and pineapple to counterbalance del Maguey Vida mezcal, plus green chartreuse and jalapeno for spiciness.
131 E Ponce de Leon Ave
Decatur, GA 30030

8. No. 246

129 E Ponce de Leon Ave, Decatur, GA 30030
In addition to mezcal, find citrus, shaken egg white, and Aperol in No. 246's Where There’s Smoke.
129 E Ponce de Leon Ave
Decatur, GA 30030

9. 4th & Swift

621 North Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30308
The on-the-rocks Mexican Rx at 4th & Swift has tequila, mezcal, agave, King's Ginger liqueur, and lime.
621 North Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30308

10. Holeman & Finch Public House

2277 Peachtree Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30309
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.
2277 Peachtree Rd NE
Atlanta, GA 30309

11. Lure

1106 Crescent Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30309
In Lure's cocktail No Ma'am, the plum wine's sweetness complements the smokiness of the Vida mezcal. Also: plum bitters and Prosecco.
1106 Crescent Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30309

12. Miso Izakaya

619 Edgewood Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30312
Smoke in the Colonies at Mizo Izakaya uses Farmer’s Organic gin, Vida mezcal, peach shrub, and a citrus-vanilla syrup.
619 Edgewood Ave SE
Atlanta, GA 30312

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