4/19/2013 02:06:00 PM

Cocktail Hour: Wahaka Mezcal

Contigo's bar; photo by Knox Photographics
It may be illegal to smoke in bars, but Austin bars and mixologists are loving the smoky taste of mescal in their cocktails or even as a sipping drink. The strong flavor has been compared to yuzu, blue cheese, smoked caramel and cocaine, and it definitely draws a line between the women and the girls (or boys and men, whatever).


One-hundred percent organic Wahaka Mezcal in particular is popping up at places like Takoba, 400 Rabbits and Contigo. Like all mezcals, the varietals come from Mexico (from Oaxaca to be exact, get it?). But in this company’s case, a horse named Paquiau turns a millstone and crushes the plants before the mash is fermented in the open air and then distilled twice. The owners and operators have roots in Austin, which makes these cousins of tequila even more special.

The five distinct mezcals Wahaka produces each highlight the different agave plants, from the sweet, floral Tobalá to the earthy Madre Cuishe. The king of cocktails, though, is the Joven Espadín, whose clean finish works well with other spirits and mixers.

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