A welcome drink
Having touched down, it’s time to toast your arrival with a few glasses of – you guessed it – mezcal. Remember, it might be served in shot glasses – or cups made of clay or from the dried peel of the fruit from the Calabash tree – but the smoky spirit is supposed to be slowly sipped and savoured, and enjoyed alongside orange wedges that are dipped in sal de chapulin, a salt made with grasshoppers that have been toasted and ground to a powder.
The appointment-only Mezcaloteca (Reforma 506) is a great place to start your education. Resembling a library of liquids, with more than 100 different distillates sitting on its shelves, the friendly owners will give you a crash course in what to look out for as your discover the difference between the methods of roasting agaves, the types of still used in the distillation process and the flavours of mezcals that have been distilled in copper and clay.
Ulises Torrentera, the owner of In Situ (Av. José María Morelos 511), is also worth getting to know – he has written a book about mezcal and stocks a staggering range of varieties as well as some great local craft beers. Next, Mezcalogia (Calle de Manuel García Vigil 509) is an intimate spot that’s run by Asis Cortés, a sixth-generation mezcalero. While here it’s also worth sampling pulque. This fermented beverage is made from the sap of the agave plant.