Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale: Mezcal Lauderdale June 2-5, 2023 | Miami New Times

Cocktails & Spirits

Mezcal Lauderdale Brings Tastings, Mixology Classes, and Pairing Dinners to South Florida

Take a deep dive into the world of mezcal without the flight to Mexico.
Try Granja Nómada mezcal at Mezcal Lauderdale. The brand has been producing mezcal with agave from the Tlacolula region in Oaxaca since the 1970s.
Try Granja Nómada mezcal at Mezcal Lauderdale. The brand has been producing mezcal with agave from the Tlacolula region in Oaxaca since the 1970s. Mezcal Lauderdale photo
Share this:
When Fort Lauderdale-based UniteUs Group founder Andrew Martineau decided to learn more about mezcal, the creative consultant found that creating a festival celebrating the Mexican spirit was the best way to share his newfound passion.

"I developed a love of mezcal and was looking for places to try it. When I came up short, I decided to put together an event that could showcase the spirits with an educational aspect," Martineau tells New Times.

Now in its second year, Mezcal Lauderdale is the realization of that goal and is now considered among the largest celebrations of mezcal in Florida. The event has officially partnered with the Consulado General de México en Miami and the United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce to deliver a three-day celebration of mezcal. The event will occur from Friday, June 2, to Monday, June 5, at Canyon and Rio's Tequila Bar in Fort Lauderdale.

Following the success of its inaugural event, this year's Mezcal Lauderdale promises to be bigger and better, says Martineau, featuring an impressive lineup of Mexico's most renowned mezcal brands.

"This event is set to offer an unparalleled mezcal experience to attendees from across the region. What's really interesting about mezcal is that you'll find numerous varietals just as you would wine based on region and area," shares Martineau, whose UniteUs Group and wife, Frances Antonio-Martineau, is also behind the city's FemAle BrewFest. "We're excited to continue to create a platform for people to discover and develop the same love for mezcal that we do through a-la-carte events and tastings."

For its second year, Mezcal Lauderdale moves to Fort Lauderdale with an expanded range of activities, including tastings, food and dinner pairings, sensory courses, mixology classes, an industry summit, and live DJ and music performances.

The event will kick off Friday, June 2, at Canyon restaurant, with a sold-out welcome event sponsored by Del Maguey featuring its newest expression, "Puebla," and a special Carajillo cocktail recipe for attendees.

But even if you didn't RSVP, there's still plenty of mezcal fun to be had.

On Saturday, June 3, the day's activities will begin with a mezcal brunch, a pairing of Canyon's weekend brunch menu alongside bottomless cocktails with the featured mezcal brand, Lobos 1707 Mezcal. The event will also offer attendees neat pours of the spirit with commentary from its brand ambassador.

The day continues with a mixology class where attendees can sample Bozal Mezcal's full range of expressions while learning how to build a mezcal cocktail. The day's events will end with two four-course tasting dinners, each paired with featured brand cocktails and neat pours.

On Sunday, June 4, master mezcalier Benjamin Nava Vargas, who hails from Mexico, will lead a special sensory course where attendees can have a one-on-one experience with the mezcal aficionado.

After, the highlight of the weekend kicks off at 2 p.m. with the official Grand Tasting, where ticket holders can sample more than 30 mezcal brands, a cigar lounge airstream, cocktail and food stations, and a performance by Mariachi Voces De America. Attendees can also purchase al-la-carte tickets for the day's 4 p.m. special food pairing featuring Mezcal Amaras.

This year, confirmed brands include Los Siete Misterios Mezcal, Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal, Contraluz Cristalino Mezcal, Nocheluna Sotol, Granja Mezcal, Mezcal Campante, San Bartolo Mezcal Artesanal, Nosotros Mezcal, Mezcal Amaras, Rey Campero, Real Minero, Charanda Uruapan, Sotolero Sotol, Chacolo, Cuentacuentos Mezcal, Bosscal, Mezcal Rosaluna, Vinateros Baconora, Mezcal Union, The Lost Explorer, Bozal Mezcal, the Producer, Lobos 1707 Mezcal Artesanal, Mezcal de Leyendas, El Viaje Raicilla, Kilinga Bacanora Premium, El Silencio, Rompe de Corazon, Batuq Bacanora, Mazot Bacanora, and Agave de Cortes.

The festival weekend wraps up on Monday, June 5, with the return of the Mezcal Lauderdale Industry Summit, which provides workshops and educational seminars aimed at sustainability. This year, the summit will partner with the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association and highlight a panel of mezcal crafters, including Del Maguey, San Bartolo, Rosaluna, and Mezcales de Leyenda. Industry employees interested in attending the event are encouraged to contact USBG Miami to RSVP for a free shuttle to the event.

Monday will include workshops with Vargas, who will be highlighting the differences between mezcal and several lesser-known agave spirits including sotol (made from wild-harvested sotol plants known as dasylirion found in the region of Chihuahua, Coahuila, and Durango), raicilla (made from lechuguilla and puta de mula agave), and baconara (an agave-derived liquor made in the Mexican state of Sonora), with tastings from featured brands.

The festival event lineup will end with a bartender competition at 7 p.m., where five Instagram-chosen participants will compete for a grand prize of $500 and the chance to be dubbed the festival's "Ultimate Mezcal Drink Master Championship."

Tickets for all Mezcal Lauderdale events are on sale now. Limited tickets are available for multiple events, except for the Grand Tasting. Tickets can be purchased at

"My ultimate goal is to see this event build to the point where it becomes a standalone event where we see Mexican chefs and restaurants contributing to the event," sums up Martineau. "It's my dream to see this become the ultimate pairing of Mexican spirits, food, and fun."

Mezcal Lauderdale. Friday, June 2, through Monday, June 5, at Canyon and Rio's Tequila Bar, 620 S. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale;
KEEP NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls. Make a one-time donation today for as little as $1.