Educate yourself. Photo via Barrio's Facebook page.

 You might say Barrio’s Casey Robison and Liberty’s Andrew Friedman are into mezcal. The two barmen have built two of the city’s largest selections of the spirit derived from the agave plant, and conduct an informal battle for superiority on this front. Robison even has a tattoo on his arm of the tobala plant, a type of maguey, or agave, specific to mezcal, and says that the people who love it develop a zeal that even outpaces famously devoted whiskeyphiles and scotch connoisseurs. 

A number of industry types share this devout love. But because most mezcal brands are small-batch, you probably won’t see many big-bucks ad campaigns singing its praises to the public. So Robison and Friedman partnered with fellow Capitol Hill joint Poquitos to organize an afternoon of discussion, education, and naturally some drinking of mezcal. 

Granted, the February 12 mezcal summit happens at lunchtime on a Tuesday. But Robison says this is the first time such a heavy-hitting roster of mezcal advocates has appeared together. He also sought out panelists who are passionate about the culture surrounding mezcal, rooted in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, not just people who want to hawk particular brand. But yes, there will be a follow-up tasting session. 

The seminar ($40) and subsequent tasting ($20) kicks off at 12:30 on February 12 at Poquitos. A combined ticket to both is $50. The speaker lineup and more details are right over here. Expect a discussion of how mezcal differs from tequila, how it's made, and why each and every person on the panel is absolutely crazy about it.

Friedman helped organize a tribute to another of his spirits passions, Japanese whiskey, at Poquitos the day before. This, along with the February 10 Speed Rack competition (check out the roster of kickass female bartenders doing battle to raise money for breast cancer research) and a Novo Fogo event at Vessel have become a sort of informal preview to Seattle Cocktail Week, slated to return in August.