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Chicago Cocktails: Make it Mezcal!

Photo via Quiote

What is mezcal, you ask? Similar to tequila, mezcal is made from agave. Unlike tequila though, mezcal is made from a type of agave called espadin, which can only be found in a certain region of Mexico. Mezcal has a distinctly raw and vivid flavor, which has led to its increase in popularity. Haven’t tried a mezcal cocktail? You’re missing out! Head to one of these Chicago spots for a sip you won’t forget.

Bernie’s Lunch & Supper {660 North Orleans Street, Chicago; 312.624.9892}

Come for the happy hour bites, stay for the cocktails. Enjoy Rosemary’s Blueberry with Banhez mezcal, smoked blueberry, and raspberry shrub, lemon, and cardamom bitters. Pair it with their famous Seafood Paella or the insanely good Pork Carnitas for a perfect date night dinner.

Photo via Quiote

Quiote {2456 North California Avenue, Chicago; 312.878.8571}

If you’re looking to expand your mezcal knowledge, there is no better place to start than Quiote. Their restaurant has a more classic Mezcal Old Fashioned (Siete Misterios Doba Yej, demerara syrup, orange-guajillo, and Angostura Bitters), but the real magic happens downstairs! Their mezcaleria, Todos Santos, is a hidden bar located underneath the main dining room, perfect for happy hours and private parties! Craft your menu around mezcal and have a great time along the way.

Cochon Volant Brasserie {100 West Monroe Street, Chicago; 312.754.6560}

Loop workers can take a culinary trip to France at Cochon Volant, but they also offer a cocktail with a distinct Latin American influence. Their Dante’s Fraud cocktail is made with mezcal, Hendricks gin, Aperol, Ancho Reyes Verde, and lime, making it the perfect pre-show or post-work cocktail.

La Josie {740 West Randolph Street, Chicago; 312.929.2900}

The family-owned staple has mezcal menu as extensive as their taco offerings! If you’re a mezcal beginner we suggest trying the Mezcal Margarita made with Banhez mezcal, organic agave nectar, and lime. You can add heat as you like—just ask the bartender. Bring some pals, and test your mezcal muscles!

Photo via Somerset Restaurant

Somerset {1112 North State Street; 312.586.2150}

It might not look like a mezcal bar, but Somerset brings the South of the Border heat. This Gold Coast hotspot keeps things fresh with their Kiwi cocktail with Creyente mezcal, kiwi, elixir of life, lime, mineral water, and Thai basil.

Barrio {65 West Kinzie Street, Chicago; 312.940.9900}

When a “Top Chef” puts his stamp on a cocktail, you know it’s going to be top notch. The new hot spot from DineAmic Group has a whole mezcal cocktail menu, including Smoke Show, made with Union mezcal, Ancho Reyes, Pür Likör, and lime. We also recommend the Hot Mezz with Sombra mezcal, watermelon, jalapeño, lime, and sage. It’s the perfect spot for post-work cocktails!