The name Mayahuel actually refers to a who - sort of. She is the goddess of the maguey plant, which is another name for agave, which is where the wonderful elixirs known as tequila and mezcal come from. And the bar that was opened by a number of actual human beings has been a temple to worship Mayahuel.
Those human beings include Phil Ward, who was at one time the beverage director at Death & Co. and Pegu Club. Phil fell in love with mezcal and tequila from his travels to Mexico and wanted to open up a cocktail bar dedicated to showcasing those spirits. His partners include Justin Shapiro, who ran the day to day operations and himself was bitten by the mezcal bug, and Ravi DeRossi, the restaurateur who owns a number of spirit-focused bars in the neighborhood (including nearby Cienfuegos).
On our Craft Cocktail tours, Justin often greets the group with stories about the bar, his passion for mezcal and its small batch producers, and inspires our attendees to both drink and consume responsibly. Everybody who has been on our tours agree that Mayahuel has been a highlight.
This bar also won a very prestigious award at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans the year it opened. It was voted "Best New Cocktail Bar in the World." No small feat. That recognition has to do with the staff's passion and hospitality as much as it has to do with the incredible cocktails.
The cocktails are all balanced and potent - ranging from light fruit-forward drinks like La Vida Rosa (strabwerry infused tequila, rosé wine, and elderflower) to spicy complex tipples like Green Gloves (jalapeño-infused tequila, green chartreuse, celery, lime, and smoked salt) to strong bittersweet nitecaps like Phil's famous Oaxacan Old Fashioned (mezcal, reposado tequila, agave nectar, and angostura bitters).
This is actually the third time we have written about Mayahuel in these blog pages. We usually don't repeat Current Obsessions like this, but Mayahuel is too special of a place. We even had our team holiday party there a few years ago.
And sadly, these are the last few weeks you will be able to visit it. Due to difficulties in renewing the lease, Mayahuel is forced to close on August 8. This is a huge blow to the cocktail community and the vibrant East Village neighborhood.
We wish all the employees lots of luck and hope to cross paths with them all again soon. It has been a great run. All this being said, you have until August 8 to celebrate this wonderful bar, taste the amazing cocktails, and share in its love of agave spirits.
304 East 6th Street
New York, NY 10003