Mezcal Revolution: 5 Top Spots to Enjoy the Spirit’s Renaissance

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It wasn’t long ago, in fact in the last couple of years, that Mezcal started making waves in and around Austin as Tequila’s wiser older brother; it was masculine, it was delicious, and it was hard to find. There was a secrecy about where to seek it out, and once you found it there was a Prohibition-like feel in the tiny establishments where the bar tender’s only job was to wax about the agave spirit’s many virtues — or vices. Bar Ilegal, since closed, was one such space.

In an old stone building on Rainy St. in Austin, it contained statues of St. Maximón — a mythical Mayan figure who demands offerings of money, spirits and cigars or cigarettes as to gain his favor in exchange for good fortune.

But now the popular spirit is easier to find. It’s flourishing in a renaissance that’s almost unmatched within the world of mixology, and for those so inclined to imbibe, we’ve gone ahead and found several unique spots in the Texas Hill Country where you can see what all the fuss is about.

1. Mezclaría Mixtli, San Antonio

First created by by Diego Galicia and Rico Torres of nearby Mixtili, the men behind Mezcalaria Mixtili are truly dedicated to offering cuisine specific to regional Mexico. Located in Olmos Park on McCullough Avenue, this bar is sure to wet your whistle with a Mescal concoction that is out of this world. The sheer number of offerings of this high-quality spirit the bar keeps in stock is one thing, but their unpretentious willingness to mix you a contemporary cocktail out of the special spirit is what really makes this this spot a must-visit.

2. Techo Mezcaleria & Agave Bar, Austin

If you weren’t looking, you might miss this little rooftop bar on East Austin’s Manor Rd. Tucked away above Tex-Mex favorite Mi Madre’s, it opened without much fanfare back in November, but word is quickly getting out. Techo offers the agave spirits with a curiously creative twist, marking their menu with concoctions such as the “Hierba” (mezcal and bourbon with lime and pickled grape) and “Verdito” (mescal, absinthe, basil-serrano, and lime juice with agave ). Check it out if you haven’t already.

3. Whisler’s, Austin


Located in an uber trendy area of East Austin, Whisler’s opened a couple of years ago after its owner stripped the space down to its original 1917 interior, added some reclaimed wood countertops and haughty decor to go along with a smash-hit list of cocktail creations. Among them, of course, are several mezcal varieties. Positioned upstairs, its Oaxaca-style mezcalería serves nothing but the popular agave spirit.

4. 400 Rabbits, Austin


According to the bar’s story, the Aztecs had these Gods of Drunkenness who consummated to create divine rabbits. And thus they chose the aptly named “400 Rabbits,” where anyone in the Texas Hill Country can come to with easy access off of 290 near Circle C Ranch. It’s connected to an Alamo Drafthouse theater, which makes it all the more better. Mezcal and a movie might make a better pairing than you’d probably think, and we’re here to attest that this is a fantastic mix of pleasures.

5. The Esquire Tavern, San Antonio

The Esquire Tavern needs no introduction — established in 1933, it is proudly known as the Riverwalk’s oldest bar. But what you might not have known is that this chic spot in an old stone building offers up mezcal on a nightly basis, giving us even more reason to choose the tavern and its incredible atmosphere a second thought on where we’ll have a nightcap.