Mezcal gets its due

Beth Stallings, Columbus Crave

It's been a long time coming, but it seems mezcal has finally gone mainstream at bars in Columbus. One new restaurant in Dublin even made the smoky brother of tequila its namesake. Mezcal Cantina & Grill opened in late summer with a focus on Mexican-American fare and craft cocktails behind the bar. The opening list was crafted by veteran bartender Cris Dehlavi, who created drinks that highlight the smokiness of mezcal, instead of masking it. Take the Mezcal Mule that subs traditional vodka for Cazadores Reposado tequila and Del Maguey Vida mezcal. Ginger beer adds a little tang, lime juice some acid and then floral notes from Creme Yvette smooth out every sip. Also worth trying if it's on the menu is the Flor de Oaxaca that imparts smoky flavor to a traditional martini recipe. Ilegal Joven is mixed with floral St. Germain and then finished with a slightly bitter orange marmalade and a smoked salt rim.