Essential spots for agave enthusiasts.
New York’s enthusiasm for agave has never been higher. And while many cocktail drinkers have long embraced tequila, just as many have become enamored with its fellow agave spirit, mezcal. Made using diverse methods from a wide range of agave species, mezcales are as diverse as a spirit can get—which only rewards exploration. (Translation: drinking.) We asked Eryn Reece, mezcal obsessive and head bartender at Manhattan’s recently opened Wooly Public, where she loves to drink the spirit. Here are her picks.
You can’t talk about New York agave bars without talking about Mayahuel. While Reece admits to a bit of bias, having worked there for quite some time, its vast mezcal selection can’t be beat. “I highly recommend trying chef Vincent Gonzalez's chorizo chilaquiles,” she says. “And take advantage of their agave flights, especially the Tobala flight [mezcals made from the agave species of the same name], which features Del Maguey, Marca Negra and Vago Tobalas.” mayahuelny.com
One of New York’s best modern Mexican restaurants, from acclaimed chef Enrique Olvera, is also a destination for tequila and mezcal. “They have a fantastic selection of brands and agave offerings, and knowledgeable staff,” says Reece. “To accompany my Real Minero Largo mezcal, I love their Tlayuda with black bean, chorizo, and avocado.” cosmenyc.com
“One of my favorite Sunday afternoon spots,” says Reece. “I especially love it during the summer when they open their windows and relaxing back patio.” Alongside an agave-heavy cocktail list from mixologist Ivy Mix, Leyenda features a wide range of mezcals, as well as other agave spirits like tequila and sotol. “I like to start off with a glass of the El Jolgorio Barril, while I enjoy the guacamole served in an avocado half-shell.” leyendabk.com
Good Night Sonny's
Neither a dedicated agave bar nor Mexican restaurant, this East Village favorite nonetheless has an impressive mezcal lineup. “It’s my favorite late-night after work spot,” says Reece. “They not only have a great selection of my favorite mezcals, they also serve food ’til 4:00 AM.” An ideal pairing: a pour of Del Maguey Chichicapa and a grilled fish sandwich. “It’s the perfect way to end a shift!” goodnightsonnynyc.com
Rosarito Fish Shack
“This is one of the newest spots I’ve fallen for,” says Reece of this Williamsburg seafood spot. “It’s a bright and airy room with a great seafood and agave selection.” Her order of choice: “The ‘Guerrero’ from Leyenda de Mezcal, with an order of fried pescado tacos, and a Modelo Especial to wash it down.” rosaritofishshack.com