While mezcal has been a bar room buzzword for the past few years, all too often it has to share the spotlight, paired in cocktails with too many complex ingredients instead of letting it shine on its own.
Mezcal is a complicated spirit, the rustic brother of tequila. The leaves of the agave, also known as the Maguey plant, are hacked off, exposing the heart of the agave plant, which is then harvested and roasted in underground coals for days. The mixture is left to ferment and the liquid is subsequently distilled. Most batches are distilled between one and three times and on the last distillation aromatics like nuts, fruits, and spices are added, along with the breasts of various animals to cut through the sweetness.
They are both made from roasting the heart of the agave, but mezcal develops a strong and smoky profile during the underground roasting. Much like wine, mezcal develops characteristics based upon the location where the agave is grown; the mineral content of soil, climate, topography, and humidity all play large roles into determining the flavor profile of the final product.
Lone Star Taco Bar in Allston has the largest list of mezcal in the city.
They offer an entire wall filled with beautiful mezcal bottles plastered with labels salvaged from old agave factories. The suggested method for drinking mezcal is out of a clay cupita; the clay diminishes the smoke and allows a very easy sipping experience. Lone Star has plenty of these cupitas ready for use.
Most bottles are blends of different types of agaves and range drastically in flavors from bottle to bottle; the Del Maguey Tobala was my personal favorite, layering in citrus notes in between the smoky bite of the wild mountain maguey. The house mezcal is Fidencio Classico, a smoother and real ‘middle of the road’ mezcal. For those looking for a cocktail instead, the bartenders can whip you up a classic gimlet featuring your choice of mezcal. Hands down, my favorite mezcal sip came from the El Diablo margarita: equal parts tequila and mezcal, house made diablo syrup, and a spiced rim with salt, cumin, and dried citrus peel.
While the tastes of mezcal range from accessible to the more complex, it’s best to leave the smokier blends for sipping.
The staff at Lone Star is knowledgeable and passionate about mezcal and finding you the one you’ll love. Do yourself a favor this summer and expand upon your cocktail palate by giving this smoky spirit a try.
LONE STAR TACO BAR. 479 CAMBRIDGE ST., ALLSTON. @LONESTARTACOBAR. LONESTAR-BOSTON.COM