From the dirt-laden roads of Mexico to one of the most famous boulevards in the world, Bricia Lopez is building a transnational dynasty rooted in indigenous libations. Now, with a James Beard Award and L.A.’s official Mezcalera title under her belt, the Queen of Mezcal has set her sights on Las Vegas. With the recent opening of her new bar Mama Rabbit Mezcal + Tequila Bar at Park MGM, Lopez is determined to introduce her Oaxacan roots to the glitz and glam of the Las Vegas Strip.
Known for its complex flavor profiles, mezcal has been largely crafted the same way in Oaxaca for hundreds of years. The grueling process involves harvesting and roasting agave in underground wood fire for days on end. These smoky notes help distinguish mezcal from tequila, which will also be served at the bar. Mama Rabbit will also offer an array of highly coveted mezcals made from rare and wild agave, some of which take decades to mature. Making it her mission to bring awareness to the spirit and the native artisans behind it, Lopez is credited by many for being the catalyst of the mezcal movement. “I would give mezcal to every L.A. bartender I met because I thought it was the perfect way to introduce people to such a strong spirit,” says Lopez, who grew up packaging agave worm salts and hand-labeling bottles. She has been groomed for this role by more than three generations of mezcaleros. “It’s almost like water,” says Lopez. “I don’t remember a day in my life when mezcal wasn’t part of it.”