Para todo mal, mezcal y para todo bien también.
Mezcal, when high quality, is simply the best liquor in existence. It has a melt in your mouth smooth smoky flavor, and a mellow buzz that is completely unlike any other. The above is a painting on the wall in Al Andar, a great little mezcaleria located on a strip of old downtown Mexico City called Calle Regina. The neighborhood is being revitalized with several bars and restaurants and a pedestrian zone, near Centro Historico:
Other favorite spots to get a nice mezcal (and a great meal) include Oh Mayahuel and Los Danzantes in Coyoacan, mentioned before:
And of course La Botica, with multiple locations in Mexico City. The picture below is of one of the smaller ones. They all have a great vibe, sell only great boutique mezcal and nothing else, and have really knowledgeable staff. They also sell full bottles to go:
Finally, the rooftop bar at the Condesa DF hotel, and La Cerveceria in Condesa, both offer great mezcal cocktails.
Oh, and that worm in the bottle? Just a relatively recent marketing gimick. Probably means it’s actually not high quality.
Coyoacán was just short bus ride from my apartment in Copilco. It’s one of my favorite neighborhoods in Mexico City. In Náhuatl, Coyoacán means “place of the coyotes,” hence the statues frolicking in the fountain in the middle of Plaza Hidalgo:
We spent quite a bit of time wandering around this neighborhood — often landing at our favorite place for cocktails, Oh Mayahuel. The food is interesting and often decent, but the reason to go is for the atmosphere and the inexpensive Los Danzantes or Alipus mezcal.
Another highlight of an evening spent wandering through Coyoacán and its fun two-level arts and crafts market are the numerous hot, fresh churros relleno stands:
You pick from a seemingly endless list of fillings, from creamy to jammy. I always went for the lechero — a sweet condensed milk. Totally decadent, thank goodness they don’t have these stands in DC.
One day when I was exploring the neighborhood on my own, I stumbled on a wonderful, enormous used book shop, Librería El Volador, on Carrillo Puerto. There were dozens of island tables, loaded with stacks of English language books, mixed in haphazardly with every other language you could imagine. I found some children’s books that had been published in China, but in Spanish. The artwork immediately caught my eye and I bought several to send to friends with kids back home. I bought a couple for myself as well, thinking they may make some nice artwork for framing. Once in DC, I cut one of them up, framed some of the prints, and decorated my room. They turned out beautiful and a great reminder of my time in DF.