If there isn’t tequila, then it isn’t an authentic Mexican restaurant! El Paso Restaurante Mexicano has an extensive cocktail menu that features nearly 75 varieties of tequila and some of the finest mezcals ever made. Here, the best Mexican restaurant in Harlem has prepared a guide to help you know what to look for the next time you visit!
Mezcal is not necessarily tequila, but rather it can refer to any liquor that is made from the distilled juice of the agave plant, a native form of flowering cactus that grows in many parts of Mexico and the South Western United States. But when speaking of the finer varieties of the drink, typical liquors labeled "Mezcal" will roast the agave versus the steaming process used in making tequila. The roasting imbues most mezcals with a smoky flavor that lends itself to sipping rather than for mixing, or the American habit of knocking it back with salt and lemon!
El Paso Restaurante Mexicano has 13 varieties of fine mezcal that are grouped under the labels of reposado (resting), anejo (aged) and joven (young). Reposado and Anejo both refer to the amount of aging the liquor takes. Reposado can be aged from several months to one year, while anejo is generally aged four years. Both of the varieties of mezcal lend a richer taste. Reviewers sometimes use words like "rounded" or "oaky," or even "sweet wood." Think of the differences in aged scotch, which will take on deeper, mellower flavors with time.
Joven mezcals, on the other hand, are "fresh," with no aging time between the distilling and the bottling. These mezcals have been described as "oily" with "hints of pear and apple, and finishes with the pleasing spice of white pepper."
El Paso Restaurante Mexicano carries varieties of mezcal from some well-known distilleries, including Ilegal, Los Amantes, Scorpion, Oro de Oaxaca - which is a small distillery still run by villagers in Oaxaca, Mexico.
To try any of these varieties of mezcal, there's only one more thing to do; come down to El Paso Restaurante Mexicano! To find out more about the drink menu or to make reservations, visit their website or call (212) 831-3104. This is the perfect opportunity to impress your friends with your extensive knowledge of mezcal or to arrange a tasting party!