Here's a selection of the best places to sample high-quality mezcals.
Bar Ama: Forty mezcals by the shot, from $10 to $36. Mezcal flights, $21 to $47. 118 W. 4th St., downtown Los Angeles, (213) 687-8002, http://www.bar-ama.com.
Las Perlas: By manager Raul Yrastorza's count, the downtown tequila bar must have 120 different expressions of mezcal. The majority are at $12 for a 2-ounce pour, with some as high as $40. Mezcal flights are $21, available Sundays and Tuesdays through Thursdays only. 107 E. 6th St., downtown Los Angeles, (213) 988-8355, 213nightlife.com/lasperlas.
Mezcaleria at Guelaguetza: Bricia Lopez has more than 80 mezcals by the 2-ounce pour, from $8 to $40, and some really rare ones by the 1-ounce pour. Flights are $8, $15 and $20. 3014 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 427-0608, http://www.ilovemole.com/mezcaleria.
Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa: Bar manager Chris Simmons curates a 150-label collection of tequila and agave-based spirits at the All-Agave Project at the resort's Pony bar. Seven mezcals with shots start at $10 and go up to $23. 5921 Valencia Circle, Rancho Santa Fe, (858) 759-6204, http://www.ranchovalencia.com.
Ray's and Stark Bar at LACMA: Art and mezcal? You can do it at this outdoor bar at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where half a dozen mezcals are poured from $12 to $18. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles (323) 857-6180, http://www.patinagroup.com.
Rivera Restaurant: About 25 mezcals, including examples from Del Maguey, Mezcal Vago and Pierde Almas, at $9 to $35 for a 2-ounce pour. 1050 S. Flower St., downtown Los Angeles, (213) 749-1460, http://www.riverarestaurant.com.
Scopa Italian Roots: You wouldn't expect to find such a big selection at an Italian restaurant. But the bar here is definitely into it, with well over 50 mezcals from $12 to $50 for a 1.5-ounce pour. Producers include El Jolgorio, Fidencio, Mezcal Vago, Tosba, Del Maguey, Alipús and Ilegal. 2905 Washington Blvd., Venice (310) 821-1100, http://www.scopaitalianroots.com.