For the Best Mezcal Tasting in Portland, Head to Xico

by Alexander Frane on Feb 21, 2018 in Liquor

Xico, pronounced “chico,” is a purveyor of high-end Mexican cuisine, cocktails, wine (including rare Mexican wines), tequila, and one of the largest collections of mezcal in Portland. Now, the restaurant is bringing back, and changing up, its mezcal experience with a flight of three mezcals, each paired with a small bite. It’s a great way to get to know and love the popular, but misunderstood, spirit. 

Designing the tasting is a communal effort between bartender Denis Lindsay, owner Liz Davis, and general manager Emily Gilmer, with Chef Kelly Myers designing the paired dishes around the mezcals. The program is designed to introduce guests to a spirit they may think of as only  a “smokey tequila” by demonstrating the unique characteristics of each spirit. Each one is distinct, distilled with with a variety of  agave types and production methods, such as being distilled in clay versus copper.
 
Each mezcal is paired with a small amuse bouche, much like a wine in a tasting might be. The first is Vago Ensamble En Barro, paired with poblano and cream chileatole, a rich and creamy little taster. The second mezcal, Alipus Santa Ana Del Rio, is fermented in clay, and is paired with a delicate chocolate truffle in olive oil. The Wahaka Espadin is paired with a cod ceviche, served with chimichurri and chips. Each dish enhances and changes the flavors of the mezcal, though the tasting notes are left up to the guest to discover, rather than being prescribed to them.
 
The experience costs $17 for half ounce pours and $30 for one ounce pours. Split between two people, the full ounce pours comes to a cocktail’s amount each, plus a nice appetizer, making it a solid deal and a fun experience.
 
Photo via Alexander Frane
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