$ — 42% ABV — Joven
Specifically made for cocktails, Vida is an amazing addition to any home bar. Made from espadin agaves, the piñas are roasted underground (like a Hawaiian pig roast) lending them a more earthy and smoky flavor than is common in tequila.
Vida is a joven mezcal, meaning it is not a single distillate. Legally, jovens may be sweetened, or thinned. Vida is neither — merely a blend of a few 100% espadin mezcals. Whisky drinkers can think of this like a blended malt.
The flavor is midly smoky and somewhat briney, like pickles or dried seaweed. Any spirit that's only palatable in a mixed drink is probably not very good and, for a self-professed mixer, Vida is surprisingly easy to drink neat.
Though there are many other mezcals brought stateside by Del Maguey, Vida remains very popular for its price. Surprisingly, the quality is right in line with those pricier brands, so Vida is the perfect spirit for anyone looking to dip their toe into mezcal.