On The Town

Mezcal Bar Clavel to Open in May

Lane Harlan discusses a recent trip to Oaxaca and more details about new mezcal bar.

By Jess Mayhugh | April 1, 2015, 4:07 pm

Three types of agave in San Juan del Rio, Oaxaca. -—Photography by Lane Harlan
On The Town

Mezcal Bar Clavel to Open in May

Lane Harlan discusses a recent trip to Oaxaca and more details about new mezcal bar.

By Jess Mayhugh | April 1, 2015, 4:07 pm

Three types of agave in San Juan del Rio, Oaxaca. -—Photography by Lane Harlan

Last month, Lane Harlan—the owner of W.C. Harlan and upcoming mezcal bar Clavel—traveled to Oaxaca, Mexico for the second time to achieve a deeper understanding of the culture and misunderstood spirit of mezcal.

"I woke up around 7 a.m. everyday," Harlan says of her trip, "and traveled outside of Oaxaca, either with a guide or taxi driver, into the mountains visiting palenques [distilleries], learning how to make mezcal, and tasting everything along the way."

What's interesting is that tequila is a type of mezcal and the usually smokier spirit can be made with way more varieties of agave plant and by traditional, rather than industrial, methods. Harlan learned that some mezcal is still made by hand or with a tahona (a horse-pulled stone wheel) or by being distilled in clay or copper stills.

The trip did a lot to inform her new bar, Clavel, which will focus on tasting multiple expressions of agave species side by side.

"Not all mezcals are smoke bombs," Harlan says. "I've tasted a Tobalá distilled in clay and gloriously reeking of plantains and blue cheese right next to a 35-year Tepeztate that was a complex array of roasted green vegetables."

Harland says that the food menu will center around the tortilla and that they'll be making flour and corn varieties by hand on a daily basis. She is hoping to have Clavel Mezcaleria, just up 23rd Street from W.C. Harlan, open by Cinco de Mayo.

"There is nothing better with Mexican food than mezcal and champagne," she says. "People never order champagne anymore because it's too expensive. We are going to change that."

Harlan shares more photos from her trip to Oaxaca:




Meet The Author

Jess Mayhugh is the digital editor for Baltimore, where she covers nightlife, sports, food, and events.



You May Also Like


Food & Drink

Spoonfuls of Sugar

Karen Segall enjoys the sweet life.

Food & Drink

Review: Char'd City

Could this pizza spot be the next great Hamilton hangout?

In Good Taste

Open & Shut: The Boiler Room; Da Mimmo; Coelum

The latest restaurant openings, closings, and recent news.


Food & Drink

All Greek to Us

Without caving to time or trends, Baltimore’s Greektown lives on.

Food & Drink

Gone, But Not Forgotten

Two local food writers pay homage to classic Baltimore restaurants.

Food & Drink

Local Flavor Live Podcast: Are Calorie Counts on Menus a Turnoff?

Plus, adventures in food styling, The Boiler Room opens, and best bites.

Connect With Us

Most Read


Religious Leaders React to Proposed Increase in Funding to Prevent Hate Crimes: Van Hollen, Sarbanes, and Cardin want to quadruple aid protecting local religious groups.

What to Know About the Maryland Cycling Classic Coming September 2020: For starters, Baltimore's pro cycling event will be more than 100 miles long.

Orioles Execs Not Mentioned in ‘AstroGate’ Sign-Stealing Scandal: GM Mike Elias and the O’s other ex-Astros employees have steered clear of the fallout.

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings Declares For Late Husband’s Seat: We break down the familiar faces in upcoming special Democratic primary.

Caleeb Pinkett Screens 'Charm City Kings' at Sundance Film Festival: Producer talks source material, filming in Baltimore, and his famous family.