On this day without an immigrant, one drink pops out from Mezcaleria Las Flores’ new menu: Bridges Not Walls. The beverage is part of head bartender Caitlin Laman’s new drink list and is mixed with Banhez mezcal, ancho, strawberry, Thai basil, lime, and guajillo salt. But the ingredients list doesn’t totally convey the drinks message, as MLF would be nothing without mezcal, the spirit indigenous to Mexico.
So while the federal government ponders erecting a border wall and taxing Mexican imports to build that wall, MLF will donate a $1 for every Bridges Not Walls drink sold. The money will go to Darwin Elementary, the Chicago Public School located about a half mile south of the bar. The school is about 87-percent Hispanic, according to the latest state figures.
That’s just bar of Mezcaleria’s drink list that’s built new from the ground up. Co-founder Jay Schroeder left in January, and the hip-hop references in the menu have departed with him. Laman has created 15 new drinks and divided the menu into two categories: Fresca (fresh) and Fuerte (strong). There’s also a large-format drink for sharing called La Ballena which the menu describes as like a paloma. It’s made with grapefruit-flavored Jarritos, the Mexican soda.
The menu concludes with a Oaxacan proverb: “Para toda mal, mezcal, y para toda bien, tambien.” Translated, that means “For all the bad, mezcal, and for all the good, too.” It sounds like a can’t-lose situation for Eater Chicago’s reigning bar of the year.
Try the menu soon, but not today (Thursday). Mezcaleria Las Flores, and neighboring Johnny’s Grill, are closed out of respect to the immigrant strike.