Food and Wine Names Espíritu a Top 10 Mezcal Destination
NEW ORLEANS – Food and Wine magazine says Espíritu Mezcaleria and Cocina in New Orleans is among top the 10 destinations for mezcal in North America. The publication describes the spirit as “one of the most complex and varied in the world” and cites Espíritu for its master mezcalier as well as its mezcal list, tasting club, and notable chef and cuisine.
“We opened Espíritu at the end of 2018 with a mission to create the most authentic, high-quality Mexican spirits and culinary experience in the region,” says co-owner and master mezcalier Jason Mitten. ”We are honored to be recognized and feel we have succeeded in creating something special. Now we just need to be able to get through the pandemic and all that it has done to threaten the restaurant community.”
Food and Wine featured Espíritu along with nine other spirits destinations from New York to San Francisco and Mexico City to Oaxaca.
The bar at Espíritu, modeled after a Mexico City mezcaleria, is led by Mitzen and has the largest selection of agave spirits in the city with more than 100 types of mezcal and tequila. From flights to delicious seasonal cocktails, there are many ways to enjoy this distinctly Mexican spirit. For those who want to dive even deeper, Espíritu’s “Mezcal Society” is a club dedicated to the appreciation of agave spirits featuring regular tasting events every Thursday. Membership is free. (Socially-distanced individual table seating is used currently.)
Chef Nanyo Dominguez, a native of Puebla, Mexico, has crafted a menu of modern, authentic Mexican cuisine steeped deeply in traditional techniques with inspiration from Baja, Veracruz, the Yucatan, Oaxaca and Mexico City. From fresh salsas and ceviches, guacamole topped with chapulines, jicama salad, lengua and al pastor tacos and specialty dishes like Oaxacan mole, all dishes at Espíritu use the freshest local ingredients.
“Sustainability is a vital part of our business,” said co-owner Amanda Sesser, who has a background in conservation and environmental sustainability. “Mezcal is made mostly by indigenous people in small villages in Mexico, and many of the distillers make only a few hundred bottles a month. Its rise in popularity has put pressure on producers to make more, so we only source our products from culturally responsible companies that invest in their communities – many that are run by families we know personally.”