Meet Tequila’s New Competitor, Raicilla

According to First We Feast, tequila may have some competition from a smokier, fruiter mezcal called raicilla. Made from wild agave plants and ripened under the Mexican sun on a beach in Puerto Vallarta, raicilla brand La Venenosa is now being brought into the U.S.

Raicilla has long lived in the shadow of tequila, with many big brands attempting to ignore or undermine its agave cousin. Jose Cuervo has even gone so far as to launch a new mezcal from Oaxaca called ‘400 Conejos’—the same name as the Guadalajara mezcal bar run by La Venenosa’s founder Esteban Morales Garibi. Morales is now in a legal battle with Jose Cuervo to keep the name after they offered him what he described as a “disrespectful, ridiculous rate.”

As with many spirits, the taste of raicilla depends on factors like soil, environment and harvesting methods, but overall it has a pronounced smoky, fruity and herbaceous flavor.  At LA’s Tacoteca one shot of the stuff will set you back $20. It is also available at Gramercy Tavern and Empellón Cocina in New York City. [First We Feast][Photo: Flickr/KittyKhat]