Craft cocktails have seen a resurgence in the last few years. They are nothing new, seeing as Sazeracs and Negronis have been around for a long time. Nowadays, bartenders are often referred to as “mixologists” — practiced hands at crafting the perfect cocktail. It’s becoming more common now to see bars using their own house-made tonics, bitters and infused spirits… and let’s not forget about shrubs!

In today’s Thirsty Thursday dispatch, we shine a light on Bowbarr. Located at 705 W. Rosemary in Carrboro, this dimly-lit bar shares the street with tacos and a tattoo shop. Bowbarr’s college town quirk evokes a Wes Anderson movie aesthetic, and it works in the establishment’s favor.

The crew at Bowbarr likes to infuse their spirits. Options like horseradish vodka and habanero tequila make appearances in Bowbarr cocktails alongside more traditional fare, but it’s the impressive selection of mezcal I chose to sample – specifically in the form of a Mezcaltini.

Mezcal is made from agave, and is most simply explained as tequila’s smoky cousin. Much like tequila, mezcal can only be made in Mexico under a strict set of conditions — much like champagne can only be made in France — all others are merely sparkling wine. The agave used in mezcal is cooked for three days, often in earthen ovens, to impart the signature smokiness that tequila lacks. Both tequila and mezcal are distilled twice, but it’s mezcal — not tequila — that’s responsible for the popular image of the worm in a bottle of Mexican liquor.

Bowbarr’s Mezcaltini is made with sour mix, ginger simple syrup and mezcal. It has a chili salted rim and is served on the rocks with a lime. For a drink with just a few basic ingredients, it has a great flavor profile. The chili salt reminds me of Old Bay seasoning and gave my lips a pleasant tingle. The ginger simple syrup and sour then calmed the spice of the chili salt and the smoky mezcal finish closes the deal. Take note, aspiring mixologists: You don’t need a myriad of ingredients to make a quality cocktail.

What are you drinking? We’d love to know what your #thirstythursday go-to beverage is.