Astute barflies have likely noticed that mezcal has been gaining prominence in Bay Area cocktail spots—the smoky agave drink is often served in the kind of bold concoctions that would put hair on your chest. But lately, we stateside connosseurs have started getting our paws on the good stuff—the small-batch mezcals once kept by family distillers for their personal consumption. Now, we're beginning to appreciate mezcal on its own— unaged, unchilled, and without adornment of salt or lime—just how your abuelo would have wanted it.
Last Tuesday, the launch of Sombra mezcal was celebrated at Rye. You don't have to know me well to know that there are few people more enthusiastic about mezcal than I. That fact alone represents a strange turn of events for me, considering that I went ten years without being able to drink any agave spirit after one of those incidents in high school where I drank too much bad mezcal at a friend's lake house party. During that period, even the aroma of anything agave would make me recoil.