Exploring Authentic Mexican Food and Mezcal in Denver

Denver, a city renowned for its picturesque landscapes and vibrant cultural scene, has also earned a reputation for its diverse and exciting culinary offerings. Among these, authentic Mexican food holds a special place, drawing both locals and tourists eager to savor traditional flavors and innovative twists. Coupled with the growing popularity of mezcal, Denver’s Mexican food scene provides an experience that is both rich in history and bursting with contemporary creativity.

The Essence of Authentic Mexican Food in Denver

Authentic Mexican food Denver is more than just a meal; it’s an immersion into the rich tapestry of Mexican culture. Unlike the often Americanized versions of Mexican cuisine, authentic dishes rely on traditional techniques, ingredients, and recipes passed down through generations.

One of the cornerstones of authentic Mexican cuisine is its use of fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Corn, beans, and chili peppers form the foundation of many dishes, with corn being a vital element, found in everything from tortillas to tamales. Denver’s Mexican restaurants emphasize this authenticity, often sourcing ingredients directly from Mexico or local farms to ensure the genuine taste of each dish.

Dishes like tacos al pastor, with their marinated pork and pineapple, and mole poblano, a complex sauce made from chili peppers, spices, and chocolate, highlight the depth of flavor that authentic Mexican food offers. Denver’s culinary scene features numerous establishments that excel in these traditional preparations, ensuring that every bite transports diners straight to the heart of Mexico.

Top Spots for Authentic Mexican Cuisine in Denver

  1. La Calle Taqueria y Carnitas: Known for its street-style tacos, La Calle Taqueria y Carnitas is a haven for those seeking a true taste of Mexico. Their tacos, filled with options like tender carnitas and spicy chorizo, are complemented by freshly made salsas and traditional sides.
  2. Machete Tequila + Tacos: With a focus on regional Mexican flavors, Machete offers a diverse menu that includes everything from tacos and tamales to ceviche. Their use of authentic recipes and high-quality ingredients makes it a favorite among locals.
  3. Tacos Tequila Whiskey: This spot combines traditional Mexican street food with a modern twist. Their tacos are made with handmade tortillas and filled with a variety of inventive ingredients, providing a fresh take on classic flavors.
  4. El Taco de Mexico: A staple in Denver for decades, El Taco de Mexico is beloved for its no-frills approach to Mexican food. Their smothered burritos and green chili are legendary, attracting a devoted following.

Mezcal: The Spirit of Mexico in Denver

In recent years, mezcal has surged in popularity, becoming a trendy choice among spirits enthusiasts. Often confused with tequila, mezcal is a distinct beverage made from various types of agave plants, giving it a unique, smoky flavor profile. Denver’s mezcal scene has blossomed, with numerous bars and restaurants offering extensive selections and mezcal-centric cocktails.

Mezcal’s versatility makes it an excellent companion to Mexican cuisine. Its smoky notes can enhance the flavors of spicy dishes, while its complexity pairs well with the rich, layered profiles of traditional sauces and meats.

Best Places to Enjoy Mezcal in Denver

  1. Adelitas Cocina y Cantina: This vibrant cantina boasts an impressive mezcal Denver selection, featuring bottles from various regions of Mexico. Their knowledgeable staff can guide you through a mezcal tasting, offering insights into the unique characteristics of each variety.
  2. La Loma: Known for its upscale take on Mexican cuisine, La Loma offers a curated list of mezcal options. Their expertly crafted cocktails, like the Mezcal Margarita, showcase the spirit’s versatility.
  3. Los Chingones: With a name that translates to “the badasses,” Los Chingones lives up to its reputation with bold flavors and an adventurous mezcal menu. Their creative cocktails and mezcal flights are perfect for both newcomers and seasoned enthusiasts.
  4. Comida at The Source: Comida’s vibrant atmosphere and innovative menu make it a standout spot for mezcal lovers. Their bar features a robust selection of mezcal, which can be enjoyed neat or in one of their signature cocktails.

The Perfect Pairing: Mexican Food and Mezcal

Pairing mezcal with Mexican food enhances the dining experience, creating a harmonious blend of flavors. For instance, a smoky mezcal pairs beautifully with rich, spicy dishes like mole poblano or barbacoa. The complexity of mezcal can also complement the freshness of ceviche or the savory notes of a carnitas taco.

Denver’s culinary scene offers numerous opportunities to explore these pairings. Many restaurants provide tasting menus or suggested pairings, allowing diners to fully appreciate the synergy between authentic Mexican dishes and mezcal.


Denver’s authentic Mexican food scene, combined with its burgeoning love for mezcal, offers a culinary journey that is both deep in tradition and innovative in presentation. From the street-style tacos of La Calle Taqueria y Carnitas to the sophisticated mezcal cocktails at Adelitas Cocina y Cantina, there’s something for every palate. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, diving into Denver’s Mexican cuisine and mezcal offerings promises a delicious and memorable experience.