Ten years ago, it would have been difficult to find more than a few brands of mezcal around town. Now most wine shops that also sell liquor have at least a few of the best-known labels. And some have gone deep into the subject with dozens of labels and expressions of mezcal. Here's where to start your education and, in some cases, get an advanced degree in this fascinating spirit.
Bar & Garden: Small but well-curated selection, including Alipús, Fidencio, Ilegal, Los Nahuales. 6142 Washington Blvd., Culver City (310) 876-0759, http://www.barandgarden.com.
Barkeeper: Usually eight different mezcals, including El Silencio, Mezcal Vago, Marca Negra, Enmascarado, Del Maguey and Fidencio. 3910 W. Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake, (323) 669-1675, http://www.barkeepersilverlake.com.
Beverage Warehouse: Mezcals from Benesin, Del Maguey, Don Amado, Ilegal, Joya Azul, Métl, Mina Real, Monte Alban, Scorpion, Sombra, Wahaka, Wild Shot. 4935 McConnell Ave., No. 21, Marina del Rey, (310) 306-2822, http://www.beveragewarehouse.com.
K&L Wine Merchants: Big selection, including Alipús, Danzantes, Del Maguey, El Jolgorio, El Silencio, Fidencio, Los Amantes, Marca Negra, Mezcal Vago, Mina Real, Pierde Almas, Tosba, Wahaka. 1400 Vine St., Hollywood, (323) 464-9463, http://www.klwines.com.
Hi-Time Wine Cellars: Pretty much everything: Agave de Cortes, Benesin, Del Maguey, Delirio, Don Amado, El Diablito, El Silencio, Fidencio, Ilegal, Los Amantes, Los Nahuales, Mala Noche, Marca Negra, Métl, Mezcalero, Mina Real, Montelobos, Pierde Almas, Sacacuento, San Dimas, Scorpion, Wahaka. 250 Ogle St., Costa Mesa, (949) 650-8463, http://www.hitimewine.net.
Ramirez Liquor: Agave de Cortes, Alipús, Del Maguey, Don Amado, El Zacatecano, Ilegal, Fidencio, Joya Azul, Los Amantes, Los Nahuales, Maria Mezcal, Metl, Mission Cielo, Sacacuento, Scorpion. 736 S. Soto St., Boyle Heights, (323) 261-2915, http://www.ramirezliquor.com.
Silver Lake Wine: A handful of well-chosen selections, mostly from Del Maguey and Tosba. 2395 Glendale Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 662-9024, http://www.silverlakewine.com.
Topline Wine & Spirits: Half a dozen or so selections, including Alipús and Del Maguey. 4718 San Fernando Road, Glendale, (818) 500-9670, http://www.toplinewine.com.
Wally's Wine & Spirits: Mezcals from Del Maguey, Don Amado, El Silencio, Fidencio, Ilegal, Joya Azul, Mezcal Caballeros. 2107 Westwood Blvd., West Los Angeles, (310) 475-0606, http://www.wallywine.com.
The Wine House: A dozen or so mezcals, including Del Maguey, El Silencio, Fidencio and Scorpion. 2311 Cotner Ave., West Los Angeles, (310) 479-3731, http://www.winehouse.com.