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Cocktail Hour: Mezcal Moment

Tequila's smoky cousin takes center stage


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Even in the hippest bars, mezcal cocktails were a rare find a few years ago. Compared with its cousin tequila, the agave-based spirit has an astringency and smokiness that turns some folks off. “If you don’t like smoke, mezcal’s probably not for you,” says Mark Broadfoot, beverage director at Galaxy Taco. When George’s at the Cove chef Trey Foshee opened Galaxy in mid-July, he tapped Broadfoot to come up with a mezcal- and tequila-centric cocktail menu. The result is one of the city’s more interesting mezcal collections and some tasty cocktails.

Tiki Sombrero at Galaxy Taco

You can’t go wrong with any mezcal cocktail here, but this one’s particularly nice and features Broadfoot’s house-made fruit sangrita, Hamilton black rum, agave nectar, and orgeat.

Paso Fino Paloma at Bracero

At chef Javier Plascencia’s new restaurant, the mezcal-based Paloma features hibiscus-infused Fino sherry. Also good is the Czech Yourself (mezcal, Becherovka, falernum, lime, pineapple, orgeat, cinnamon syrup and absinthe), with its hints of spice and anise.

Coney Island Freakshow at Panama 66

This bar in the sculpture garden of the San Diego Museum of Art comes up with a cocktail for every major exhibit. Inspired by Coney Island, this one’s made with chile de árbol–infused Aperol, mezcal, grapefruit juice, lemon, and agave syrup. A perfect balance of sweet, smoky, and spicy.

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