There are a lot of new and exciting cocktails and other recipes involving mezcal this year, including delicious twists on the classics. From non-alcoholic options and bitter concoctions to bubbly cocktails and drinks with vegetables, there are plenty of ways cocktail trends (with and without mezcal) are shaping up for 2022.
Mezcal is a smoky agave liquor made in certain states in Mexico. The best mezcal cocktails can be anything from sweet to sour, and they can be complex or simple. Since it’s part smoky and part sweet, it adds a wide variety of flavors to both trendy and traditional drinks.
Mezcal Trends and Recipe Concoctions
If you’re going to be serving or drinking a good mezcal cocktail, it makes sense that you’ve got to start with a good mezcal.
Many people think of mezcal as nothing but a smoky tequila, but at its most basic, it’s an agave distillate. While tequila is made from the blue agave plant, mezcal is made from a wide variety of different agaves (more than 30 different types) in 13 Mexican states.
Related: Amaro: The Beautiful Complexity Beyond Italy
Various factors create a mezcal’s flavor profile, including the agave used, the distillation method, and terroir. Following are some of the very best and most popular mezcals making a splash in 2022:
Best for beginners: Montelobos Espadin
Best tobala: Del Maguey Tobala
Best for a mezcal margarita: Ilegal Mezcal Joven
Best smoky mezcal: Del Maguey Vida Mezcal
Best barril: El Jolgorio Barril
Best overall: Rey Campero Tepextate
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We’ve gathered some of the most promising and popular recipes and trends with mezcal that consumers are really going for.
Trending Mezcal Cocktails in 2022
There is no lack of experimentation with mezcal this year, and some of the most interesting and flavorful cocktails are being enjoyed all over the country, even ahead of summer. This isn’t to say that consumers can’t also drink mezcal neat; they certainly are doing that, too.
Smoky Mezcal-Fig Sour
This trending drink has spicy-sweet fig ginger syrup that surrounds mezcal as the dominant flavor. The cocktail is rounded out by bright lemon juice along with the smoky mezcal, creating a drink that is just a little sweet, letting the liquor really shine. Serve in a tumbler over ice.
Peach Mezcal Cocktail
This cocktail is like a peach margarita but with mezcal, which changes the flavor considerably depending on which type of mezcal is used. Consumers can drink it on the rocks, over crushed ice, or frozen in a blender.
You can use a fresh peach that is peeled, seeded, and chopped, or you can use peach schnapps. Add mezcal, along with triple sec or Cointreau for orange flavor and fresh lime juice to bring out the citrus vibe of the drink. Garnish with a lime wedge or peach slice.
Although the classic mint julep is the official cocktail of the Kentucky Derby, this year, many restaurants, bars, and taverns are serving up juleps made with mezcal instead. Gather mezcal, simple syrup made with mint, and fresh lime juice. Combine in a glass on the rocks, and garnish with a mint leaf.
Smoke and Honey Mezcal Cocktail
One of the most exciting mezcal drinks on our list is the smoke and honey mezcal cocktail. This one has sweet honey, simple syrup, chili powder, and ginger beer. Add a splash of mezcal into the mix and serve in a coupe glass with a lime wedge for garnish.
While the traditional mezcal margarita has been around for several decades, when consumers are looking for a great mezcal drink in 2022, they’re turning to much more than just the basic margarita and are going for these and other fun mezcal cocktails.