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A Dozen New Mezcal Drinks to Try

Find the seductive spirit at these spots

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Columbia Room
| Official

The smoky spirit mezcal has made its mark across the Mexican border, exploding in popularity in the U.S. in the past few years. There's good news for D.C.-based fans of the strong (yet seductive) spirit: mezcal can be found all over the city at the moment.

Still wondering what, exactly, is the difference between mezcal and tequila? It all boils down to three main components: location, agave variety, and production. Mezcal and tequila are produced in different regions of Mexico (though there is some overlap) and tequila is only made from blue agave, while mezcal can be made out of many different varieties of agave, including blue agave. Finally, mezcal is produced by baking the agave in an underground pit, a process that dictates its distinctive flavor.

Now on to the important question at hand: where can great mezcal cocktails be found in D.C.? From an extensive list at the newly-opened Espita Mezcaleria in Shaw to a mezcal-infused twist on a classic at The Riggsby in Dupont, here are 12 places to find new mezcal cocktails around the District.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Rose's Luxury

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717 8th St SE
Washington, D.C. 20003
(202) 580-8889
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The trendy Barracks Row spot is currently featuring a mezcal cocktail that’s an ode to a daiquiri, with Jamaican rum, mezcal for its smoky notes, and charred pineapple.

2. Espita Mezcaleria

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1250 9th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 621-9695
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No current list of mezcal in the District would be complete without Espita Mezcaleria, the recently-opened restaurant that puts mezcal first. The drinks menu at this spot in Shaw features a wide range of mezcal-based cocktails, including several that are brand new to the menu — “The Totec,” for example, is a sweet mezcal, Dolin Blanc and Cappeletti cocktail featured on the dessert menu. Espita also does several mezcal tasting flights.

3. The Riggsby

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1731 New Hampshire Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 787-1500
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The cocktail menu at The Riggsby currently features a mezcal-based twist on the classic Last Word cocktail: substitute some mezcal for the gin and the drink becomes the Final Palabra.

4. El Camino

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108 Rhode Island Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 847-0419
El Camino’s mezcal cocktails are brand new for fall. Keep an eye out for the “Selene,” a paloma-style cocktail with mezcal and the “Josefina,” a spicy mezcal-based drink with Luxardo Maraschino, Green Chatreuse, lime juice and serrano pepper.

5. Slipstream

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1333 14th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20005
(202) 450-2216
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Customers come for the coffee and stay for the cocktails at Slipstream — specifically, when it comes to mezcal, for the “Brass Knuckle.” This feature of Slipstream’s current cocktail menu uses orange juice, lemon, habanero tincture and ginger beer built on a mezcal base.

6. Barmini

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501 9th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20004
(202) 393-4451
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Looking for an upscale mezcal cocktail? Jose Andres’ Barmini offers the “Andrés & Cooper” with sweet vermouth, amontillado sherry, cynar and some Iberico mezcal.

7. Oyamel Cocina Mexicana

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401 7th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20004
(202) 628-1005
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Jose Andres’ Mexican spot in Chinatown kicked off “Mezcal Mondays” this month. Every second Monday of the month, mezcal purveyors will offer free tastings at the bar from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. A cocktail using one of the featured mezcals will stick around for the rest of the week — expect a new one in October.

8. Compass Rose

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1346 T St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 506-4765
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The staff at Compass Rose has had mezcal on its mind since a trip to Tulum in April. To celebrate the spirit there's a special pop-up event next week, at which one of the restaurant’s two fall mezcal cocktails will be unveiled. The “La Eufemia” blends Illegal Mezcal Joven with hibiscus lemongrass tea, mango shrub, lime and cinnamon, while the “Casa Sophia” — made of Illegal Mezcal reposado, pear puree, apple cinnamon syrup and lemon — will make its debut at the end of the month.

9. The Fainting Goat

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1330 U St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 735-0344
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At The Fainting Goat on U Street, beverage director Ian Fletcher currently has a cocktail called the “Meztique” on the menu, which is a mix of Rey Campero Espadin mezcal with Luxardo, grapefruit and an Aperol and lime ice cube.

10. Provision No. 14

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2100 14th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 827-4530
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At Provision No. 14 on 14th Street, on the other hand, visitors can still snag the “Mango-Orange Seasonal Slush,” which features El Silencio mezcal with Denros rum, mango, orange, lime and vanilla. Enjoy this refreshing, summery drink while it lasts.

11. Copycat Co.

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1110 H St NE
Washington, D.C. 20002
(202) 241-1952
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The creative mixologists at Copycat Co. on H Street are currently serving the newly-added “Metal Hurlant” blending mezcal with orange juice, ginger, lime and Angostura bitters — remember to pair with dumplings.

12. The Columbia Room

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124 Blagden Alley NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 316-9396
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The trendy Columbia Room has not one but two mezcal-based cocktails on its current menu. The “This Is Not a Rosé” blends Bruxo No.1 Espadin mezcal with Cocchi Rosa Aperitivo infused with red bell pepper and lapsang souchong. The “Amero,” on the other hand, has mezcal, tequila reposado, chai-spiced maple syrup and aromatic, orange and celery bitters. The “This Is Not a Rosé,” new to the menu for summer, will continue through the fall. The “Amero,” on the other hand, which has been featured since February, is about to come off (though patrons can still order it by name).
Jeff Elkins/Official

1. Rose's Luxury

717 8th St SE, Washington, D.C. 20003
The trendy Barracks Row spot is currently featuring a mezcal cocktail that’s an ode to a daiquiri, with Jamaican rum, mezcal for its smoky notes, and charred pineapple.
717 8th St SE
Washington, D.C. 20003

2. Espita Mezcaleria

1250 9th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
No current list of mezcal in the District would be complete without Espita Mezcaleria, the recently-opened restaurant that puts mezcal first. The drinks menu at this spot in Shaw features a wide range of mezcal-based cocktails, including several that are brand new to the menu — “The Totec,” for example, is a sweet mezcal, Dolin Blanc and Cappeletti cocktail featured on the dessert menu. Espita also does several mezcal tasting flights.
1250 9th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

3. The Riggsby

1731 New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20009
The cocktail menu at The Riggsby currently features a mezcal-based twist on the classic Last Word cocktail: substitute some mezcal for the gin and the drink becomes the Final Palabra.
1731 New Hampshire Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20009

4. El Camino

108 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
El Camino’s mezcal cocktails are brand new for fall. Keep an eye out for the “Selene,” a paloma-style cocktail with mezcal and the “Josefina,” a spicy mezcal-based drink with Luxardo Maraschino, Green Chatreuse, lime juice and serrano pepper.
108 Rhode Island Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

5. Slipstream

1333 14th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20005
Customers come for the coffee and stay for the cocktails at Slipstream — specifically, when it comes to mezcal, for the “Brass Knuckle.” This feature of Slipstream’s current cocktail menu uses orange juice, lemon, habanero tincture and ginger beer built on a mezcal base.
1333 14th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20005

6. Barmini

501 9th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20004
Looking for an upscale mezcal cocktail? Jose Andres’ Barmini offers the “Andrés & Cooper” with sweet vermouth, amontillado sherry, cynar and some Iberico mezcal.
501 9th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20004

7. Oyamel Cocina Mexicana

401 7th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20004
Jose Andres’ Mexican spot in Chinatown kicked off “Mezcal Mondays” this month. Every second Monday of the month, mezcal purveyors will offer free tastings at the bar from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. A cocktail using one of the featured mezcals will stick around for the rest of the week — expect a new one in October.
401 7th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20004

8. Compass Rose

1346 T St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009
The staff at Compass Rose has had mezcal on its mind since a trip to Tulum in April. To celebrate the spirit there's a special pop-up event next week, at which one of the restaurant’s two fall mezcal cocktails will be unveiled. The “La Eufemia” blends Illegal Mezcal Joven with hibiscus lemongrass tea, mango shrub, lime and cinnamon, while the “Casa Sophia” — made of Illegal Mezcal reposado, pear puree, apple cinnamon syrup and lemon — will make its debut at the end of the month.
1346 T St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009

9. The Fainting Goat

1330 U St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009
At The Fainting Goat on U Street, beverage director Ian Fletcher currently has a cocktail called the “Meztique” on the menu, which is a mix of Rey Campero Espadin mezcal with Luxardo, grapefruit and an Aperol and lime ice cube.
1330 U St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009

10. Provision No. 14

2100 14th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009
At Provision No. 14 on 14th Street, on the other hand, visitors can still snag the “Mango-Orange Seasonal Slush,” which features El Silencio mezcal with Denros rum, mango, orange, lime and vanilla. Enjoy this refreshing, summery drink while it lasts.
2100 14th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009

11. Copycat Co.

1110 H St NE, Washington, D.C. 20002
The creative mixologists at Copycat Co. on H Street are currently serving the newly-added “Metal Hurlant” blending mezcal with orange juice, ginger, lime and Angostura bitters — remember to pair with dumplings.
1110 H St NE
Washington, D.C. 20002

12. The Columbia Room

124 Blagden Alley NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
Jeff Elkins/Official
The trendy Columbia Room has not one but two mezcal-based cocktails on its current menu. The “This Is Not a Rosé” blends Bruxo No.1 Espadin mezcal with Cocchi Rosa Aperitivo infused with red bell pepper and lapsang souchong. The “Amero,” on the other hand, has mezcal, tequila reposado, chai-spiced maple syrup and aromatic, orange and celery bitters. The “This Is Not a Rosé,” new to the menu for summer, will continue through the fall. The “Amero,” on the other hand, which has been featured since February, is about to come off (though patrons can still order it by name).
124 Blagden Alley NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

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