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Tequila's lunatic cousin

Sombra Mezcal

It’s been a while since we rode the mezcal train, so let’s begin with a brief primer. Actually, let’s begin with a shot. Good. Now, on to the primer. Mezcal and tequila are sort of like langoustines and prawns: we’d bet a shiny nickel they’re different, but if pressed for an explanation we’d have to say they both basically taste like shrimp. Sombra Mezcal ($40) is made by baking the agave hearts in a conical pit lined with rocks that have been heated with an oak fire — and its earthy, spicy taste is a great one to throw back.

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Drink your dinner: Chicken-infused booze

Tasting Notes: Del Maguey Mezcal

For years, the mythical spirit mezcal (also spelled mescal) was considered to be Mexican moonshine and often associated with cheap, fiery liquor housing a worm. While the worm was merely a marketing gimmick employed by certain producers, mezcal lives on and is growing in popularity across the country thanks to companies like Del Maguey ($40-$200),…