Introducing Encanto, the newest addition to Chicago’s growing agave scene right in the heart of River North. The menu is complete with both mezcal and tequila, as well as a selection of shareable plates. The beverage program is led by industry professional Enrique Cobos, who encourages an enjoyable, laid-back approach to agave. “It’s a cool space because it’s not intimidating. If you don’t know, we will help you to learn.”
Mezcal has everything one would need in a good spirit—history, culture, and layers and layers of flavor. Every mezcal has its own history, every bottle is a whole new world; making it an easy-going and fun ingredient to work with because of its range. Encanto’s dedication to sustainability and supporting those who put care and attention into the production of tequila and agave is clear through the diverse representation of brands and producers that each bring a distinctive and eclectic option to the table. Cabos offers a unique experience at the bar with customizable tasting flights where guests can choose their favorite agaves to try, or per recommendation. The most expensive pour is $15—you don’t have to spend a ton of money to have good mezcal or tequila.
Each cocktail is a take on a traditional drink, but with an agave twist. The Oaxacan Twilight is a nod to the production of mezcal with prickly pear being a key ingredient—a symbolic fruit from the areas in Mexico mezcal is created. It has a fruity profile with citrus and floral notes. Rosita de Riveter is one of my personal favorites because of its take on a classic Negroni. A speak-easy style cocktail, this spirit-forward drink is sweet and bitter with all the flavors of Mezcal Union swirled in.
The space is breathtaking with reds and golds that sit comfortably alongside plants and paintings evocative of a rich Latin American aesthetic. Spacious couches and tables make it a great spot for groups, as well as intimate dates. Exit through the back to the private cigar lounge for an intimate drinking experience. The back patio is enclosed for year-round enjoyment, so no one has to worry about that fickle Midwestern weather while trying to enjoy a smoke and some agave wine.
Officially opening in the new year, Encanto showcases an appreciation of mezcal—it’s like eating caviar for the first time; you learn to value its flavors and decadence. Once you know how unique and special it is, you come to love it.