The idea of a budget mezcal might as well be an oxymoron. It’s up there with “jumbo shrimp” and “Amtrak schedule” as a phrase that doesn’t really make an awful lot of sense. If you want to go cheap on Mexican spirits, there’s a plethora of plastic handled, bottom shelf tequilas — perfect to mix into your favorite cocktails. They might also come with a wicked hangover the next morning but that’s neither here nor there.
If you want to delve into the world of mezcal this winter (and you should), you’ll have to pay a little more (don’t worry, it won’t leave you penniless). Don’t worry, the payoff is huge. The smoky, vegetal flavor of mezcal is perfectly suited for slow sipping on cold winter nights. So we asked some of our favorite bartenders to tell us their favorite “bang for your buck” mezcals to drink this winter.