The spirit of Alex Stupak's Empellón Taqueria and Empellón Cocina is one of invention, but heavily steeped in the traditions of Mexican cuisine—"always-impressive original takes on regional Mexican classics," as we noted in our first look at Cocina.
It's little surprise, then, that the bar program, run by Mat Resler, is the same way. There's a great deal of attention to agave spirits—Empellón Cocina's list numbers 47 mezcals (which he thinks is the most in the city) plus another 13 or so that aren't even listed. An appreciation for these traditionally made spirits is obvious, but Resler goes far beyond the traditional in creating agave-based cocktails that express the full range of mezcal and tequila, be they fruity or peppery, grassy or smoky.
The five new drinks on his menu vary widely. There's a pistachio milk punch with the "salted caramel, toffee notes" of Dos Tequila Reposado. There's a pomegranate-vinegar cocktail bright with acidity, with the peppery notes of Espolón Blanco backing it up. And there's a stirred cocktail of nothing but mezcal—five different iterations playing off each other for a drink that's surprisingly bright and easy to sip. "On paper, that's the scariest cocktail I've ever made, but it's different once you taste it."
Come take a look at the five new drinks on Resler's fall menu at Empellón Cocina—plus a bonus drink from Taqueria—including Mayan liqueurs, smoked bananas, and a neon-green syrup that might surprise you.