A recent conversation with a fellow aficionado about the absence of mezcal sommeliers or someone relatively knowledgeable about mezcals in many restaurants or bars with big bottle lists has been rattling around my head. While mezcal is exploding in popularity it’s incredibly difficult to find anyone to help you find something to match your tastes. And, given that a glass will run you $15-20, that creates a huge problem. What neophyte is going to give it a shot without a little orientation? It may even be tricky to shake a long time drinker out of a habit because sometimes you need a prompt to try something new.
We’re pretty lucky to have a few places in San Francisco where at least one person behind the bar knows the list. Restaurants like Lolo, La Urbana, Tamarindo, Prizefighter, and Mosto are pretty reliable. (While we’re at it there’s this reminder that we need to visit Mosto and check out their resident guide to mezcal.) Then I noticed that Mexicano, a new restaurant in LA is playing up a mezcal sommelier as part of their launch media. Worst case that’s just marketing hype but, hopefully it’s a trend because the more seriously the bar and restaurant world takes mezcal, the higher the standards and, in the ideal salutory cycle, more informed consumers with more developed palates spending more on mezcal.