Mezcal consumption has grown rapidly over the past decade, and the thirst for the agave spirit shows no signs of slowing. In 2021, U.S. spending on mezcal grew 53 percent in value, while the spirit made its way into just about every classic cocktail template, from Negronis to Martinis; it also continued its reign in modern classics like the Oaxaca Old-Fashioned. This year, for the first time, bartenders surveyed by Punch listed mezcal picks as essentials in their wells, a testament to the growing popularity, and stateside accessibility, of the spirit.
Here, we’ve rounded up some of the best ways to mix with mezcal. Some recipes, like Employees Only’s Mezcal Margarita, simply swap the spirit in for tequila, while others, like the Fumata Bianca, build something entirely new, calling on the ingredient to lend its signature profile between layers of flavor. Take a crash course on the spirit, then find 15 of our favorite easy mezcal cocktail recipes below.
Employees Only’s Mezcal Margarita
The New York bar’s signature, smoky serve.
The modern classic that helped spark a boom in mezcal cocktails.
A nuanced riff on the mezcal Negroni with a splash of crème de cacao.
I’m on Fire
Sarah Morrissey's answer to the spicy Margarita, with an added dose of pineapple.
A spicy, savory take on the Oaxaca Old-Fashioned.
A mezcal take on the Caribbean staple of Scotch and coconut water.
I Am Keith Hernandez
A take on the dirty Martini with mezcal at the base.
A cucumber-inflected take on the mule.
A smoky-sweet update to the Italian palate cleanser.
A split base of mezcal and manzanilla sherry offers a lower-ABV take on the classic.
Thou Shall Not Be Named
An agave spin on the Boulevardier.
Served down over seltzer, the fluffed up fizz from San Francisco's ABV is equal parts sour, smoky and smooth.
White Negroni Piña Colada
The fairer Negroni goes tropical.
A soft, yet edgy mixture of sweet, herbal and smoky that goes down easy.
Mezcal and Amaro Meletti—need we say more?