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  • Writer's pictureJarnard Sutton

This is how San Diego is using mezcal to create flavorful cocktails

Tequila has been used in crafting cocktails for as long as we can remember, from margaritas to palomas. But differing in taste and origin from tequila, the smokier mezcal liquor is expected to be all over cocktail menus this year. Check out this trend as we’ve gathered some of favorite places to find mezcal drinks around San Diego.

Smokey Pina | Del Sur Mexican Cantina

Located in the heart of the South Park neighborhood, Del Sur Mexican Cantina not only serves up authentic Mexican cuisine, but also has a great cocktail and margarita list. Grab a table on their vibrant outdoor patio and sip on the Smokey Pina, made of Xicaru Mezcal, pineapple, lime, poblano syrup and Cointreau, an orange-flavored triple sec. On weekdays from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., enjoy $7 cocktails and appetizers, such as the Del Sur Queso Fundido. A house cheese blend spiced with roasted poblano, Anaheim pepper, onion and mushroom, this starter will pair perfectly with your cocktail.

Mezcal Me | Duck Dive

Pacific Beach’s neighborhood beach lounge and eatery, The Duck Dive, is the ideal spot for imbibing while people watching and appreciating a sun soaked San Diego day. Stop in for a weekend brunch or make Duck Dive your go-to for a fun night out, but whatever you do, make sure you order one of their dive punch bowls. Mezcal Me, Maybe? cocktail, made with tequila, mezcal, fresh grapefruit, passion fruit syrup, falernum, lime and guava nectar. A fusion of tarty fruit flavors and tequila’s smooth and smoky qualities.

Jalisco Margarita | Jalisco Cantina

Jalisco Cantina, Oceanside’s favorite new watering hole, has handcrafted cocktails and made-from-scratch fresh food sure to satisfy your craving for a traditional Mexican meal. With small plates like lime chicken Torta Sliders, topped with chipotle, pepper jack cheese and habanero pickled onions, or guacamole, you can sample a lot of menu items. One drink you’ve got to try is the Jalisco Margarita. Consisting of CaliFino Reposado, Xicaru Mezcal Rinse, fresh lime, fresh grapefruit, orange curacao and agave nectar, this beverage showcases the strong, smoky flavor typical of mezcal. At Jalisco Cantina, you can also order from three different choices of Mezcal Flights; the Jalisco Flight, Delirio or Bozal. They even encourage creating your own flight to experience the unique taste of each!

Hot Chilaka | The Smoking Gun

Gaslamp’s revolutionary spin on the neighborhood bar and restaurant, The Smoking Gun, invites locals and visitors alike to grab a drink, listen to the music and try their hand at a game of ping pong or foosball. Playing into the bar’s retro vibe, you can check out the extensive drink menu by peering through an old school viewfinder. One refreshing choice is the Hot Chilaka, made with Los Javis Mezcal, St. George Green Chile Vodka, lime, fresh pineapple, firewater bitters and soda. The Smoking Gun is also well-known for their boilermakers, which is a shot and drink combination. Try the Holy Smokes, which consists of a mezcal shot and Stiegl Radler pint.

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