A sure sign that mezcal has hit the mainstream: Applebee’s on Jan. 8 announced the launch of three mezcal Margaritas. The Pasadena, CA-based chain, which operates 1,654 Applebee’s restaurants in the U.S., partnered with Dos Hombres mezcal on its first-ever mezcal cocktails.
The mezcal Marg lineup includes the Breaking Rock Rita, the Passion Fruit Mezcal Rita; and the Classic Mezcal Rita. The cocktails, hand-shaken, poured tableside and served with a chilled shaker tin, are priced at $9 and available for a limited time.
Dos Hombres, founded in 2019 by actors Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston, uses Espadin agave from Oaxaca, Mexico, and traditional mezcal production methods. Applebee’s mezcal Margaritas also include Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Teremana tequila.
Other chain restaurants have been adding mezcal cocktails to their menus in the past year. For instance, Brazilian steakhouse Fogo de Chão, with about 66 locations in the U.S., in spring 2023 debuted the Yellowbird, made with Desolas mezcal, passion fruit, pineapple, Cointreau and La Marca prosecco. The 60-unit Firebirds Wood Fired Grill this past fall included a seasonal Orange Cinnamon Sour, with Fireball whisky, Los Vecinos mezcal, blood orange elixir and fresh-squeezed lemon juice.
Mezcal Margaritas in particular offer a familiar flavor profile to help introduce guests to the smoky Mexican spirit. Bosscal Mezcal’s proprietary Mezgarita is the number-one mezcal cocktail in America, according to the brand. The Mezgarita can be found in more than 2,500 restaurants across the U.S., including Buffalo Wild Wings, Carnival Cruise Lines, MGM Resorts, Regal Cinemas and Ruby Tuesday.