Move Over Tequila, It's Mezcal's Time to Shine

Production of Mezcal, the smoky sister of tequila, is on the rise to meet the recent surge in consumer demand. 

Sales of this beverage has grown from 50,000 cases being sold in 2009 to 350,000 being sold last year. 

The distilled alcoholic beverage is made from any plants native to Mexico. Tequila, on the other hand, can only be made with one variety, the Blue Agave, a plant that is currently experiencing a massive shortage. 

The taste of Mezcal is often described as smokey, paired with citrus or floral notes. 

What makes Mezcal interesting is the wide range of flavors of the alcoholic beverage. 

“Mezcal can be sweet, smoky, and earthy all in one—and the depth of flavor was amazing. But what caught my interest was that all of those flavor notes changed significantly based on producers and single-family makers. It’s one of the coolest spirits out there considering both flavor and history," said Evan Hawkins, the beverage director of Fox Lifestyle Hospitality Group to "Forbes."

Not sure how to incorporate Mezcal to your beverage menu?

Mezcal shot

“First, I thought about how I would use the mezcals, so I went down a usage list: from the go-tos, to ones with unique flavors, to those expensive sippers that push the spirit to a new stratosphere,” said Hawkins. “I just approached the spirit through its diversity and usage. I was also beneficial to think about if I had a mezcal bar where I wanted something for every kind of mezcal drinker—cocktails, sippers, highballs, and top shelf."

Hawkins recommends 17 of his top Mezcal picks, including several of the Foodable Labs ranked Mezcals like the Del Maguey Vida. 

“This is my right hand man. This is my old faithful. I love this mezcal for its price point and its deliciousness. It’s insanely versatile in cocktails or own its own,” said Hawkins about his second pick Del Maguey, which landed at the No. 1 spot based on brand sentiment on our Foodable Labs ranking. 

See what other Mezcals this beverage expert recommends at "Forbes."