Exactingly curated and meticulously sourced mezcals are the focus at Petty Cash Taqueria, the newish taco joint from chef Walter Manzke and restaurateur Bill Chait. Beverage director Julian Cox is a man on a mission to introduce Angelenos to this obscure south-of-the-border beverage. Mezcal has been popping up on L.A. cocktail menus as bartenders discover its smoky versatility. If you're up for the palate challenge, Petty Cash offers a selection of little-known, traditional mezcals (Minotauro is Cox's current favorite) as well as far more esoteric, regional styles like bacanora and raicilla. Also on the menu is sotol, made from an agave relative called desert spoon; the spirit is so village-specific that it doesn't even have a U.S. distributor but is shipped to the restaurant directly from Mexico. Try a few straight samplers of these spirits side by side to get a sense of these authentic flavors, or go for a mezcal cocktail like the Oaxacan old-fashioned. And know that you are sipping history: Mezcal's predecessor was made way back when by some folks called the Aztecs. 7360 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax District. (323) 933-5300, pettycashtaqueria.com. —Lesley Jacobs Solmonson
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