Mezcal has recently become slightly more available at the LCBO, which is a start. The first time I tried a Del Maguey was borderline revelational. Tequila, the blue agave form of Mezcal, is a totally different beast. I’ll be honest and say that I generally don’t love tequila-based cocktails. I find the spirit often takes too much away from other components. That said, there are obviously exceptions.
Mezcal-based cocktails, on the other hand, are among my favourites. Despite being technically more dominant than tequila, mezcal knows what it is in a drink. Deep and smokey, it somehow cooperatively dominates in a way that tequila cannot. People compare mezcal to scotch for obvious reasons but I almost always prefer a mezcal-based cocktail over one made with scotch.
Mezcal is one of those spirits where it makes sense to spend some decent money on a good one. The whole terroir themed Del Maguey line is outrageous.
For most tequila-based cocktails, plain old Sauza silver works best. Reposado or aged tequilas, unless specifically called for, are more likely to unfavourably dominate. Unlike mezcals, I don’t spend a ton of money on tequilas for mixing. Tequila shots with salt and lime (the only shot on which its worth wasting booze and inebriation), on the other hand, demand a finer product.