For decades, the liquor has been maligned, but the real stuff, hailing mostly from the Mexican state of Oaxaca, can have wonderfully intense smoky notes and is an increasingly popular cocktail ingredient. (And to set the record straight, there should not be a worm in the bottle.) The robust flavor is created when the agave plants used to make the spirit are slow-roasted in oven-like pits lined with hot rocks.
So give mezcal a shot by fixing these five mouth-watering sippers from talented bartenders across the country. You can thank us later. Cheers!