It’s taken a while for Baton Rouge to come around to tequila’s cooler, smokier cousin, mezcal. But the rustic liquor is showing up on more local cocktail menus these days.
For the uninitiated, mezcal and tequila have the same starting point in the harvested agave plant, but that’s where the similarities end. The core of the agave is distilled differently for each. For mezcal production, the core is first roasted to get that distinct smoky essence before the fermentation process begins.
Distillation science aside, the result is a liquor that’s as complex and varied as wine, with different mezcals showcasing the terroir and flavor of the nine Mexican states certified to produce the spirit.
You can sip it—and really, mezcal is made for slow sipping—at several bars around town. Or, ease into its distinct features via a cocktail balanced with plenty of citrus. Orange slices are the traditional accessory. Save the lime wedges for the tequila shots.