Thanks to Jay Schroeder, Chicago denizens now have a cheap ticket to Oaxaca via new agave den Mezcaleria Las Flores, a haven for jícaras (a small half gourd from which mezcal is traditionally sipped) of mezcal, along with contemporary booze-spiked libations.
Says Schroeder: The margarita is a beautiful, simple classic. Sure, some people like to try and class things up a bit (strawberries, I'm looking at you—and you're not invited), but the rusticity and smoke of a quality mezcal is really all you need to turn this standby into a drink with some real personality. For best results, garnish with salt and enjoy liberally over ice.
2 ounces mezcal joven
1 ounce fresh lime juice, strained to remove pulp
1/2 ounce orange liqueur
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1/3 cup coarse rock salt
Combine mezcal, lime juice, orange liqueur, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake. Meanwhile, pour salt onto plate or shallow dish. Use a leftover lime wedge to moisten the rim of a rocks glass. Then, roll the rim in salt. Strain cocktail mix and pour into rocks glass with ice. Garnish with a lime wedge.