When I traveled to Oaxaca, Mexico through the Vista Leadership Academy last November, I became really interested in mezcal. Created from the agave plant, the same plant tequila is made from, the word mezcal stands for elixir of the gods. Making mezcal is a lucrative business, with many families and small farms creating the smokey spirit alongside their crops in Oaxaca. So lucrative in fact, that now it’s in high demand across the United States.
D.C.’s Espita Mezcaleria serves the largest selection of mezcal in the United States. Their bar is piled high with many different mezcals, which you can drink straight or have in a cocktail.
What’s interesting about this restaurant is that the owners buy from truly local Oaxacan sellers. The server taking care of our table travels to Oaxaca pretty often himself to learn how to make it and aspires to one day work as a distiller.
Besides the mezcal, their food is delicious as well. I reminisced about the street food stands surrounding Santo Domingo, the main church marking the center of Oaxaca city, when I dove into a chorizo tlayuda.
I can’t wait to go back and try the mole and tacos. Sustainable restaurants that benefit local communities are incredibly important, especially in today’s restaurant scene.
Do you have a favorite restaurant with this concept?