Mexico is a cornucopia of food and beverage. The country is so diverse that each state has something to offer of its own. While a lot is known about tequila and margarita, here are a few Mexican beverages which deserve to be under the limelight.
Consumed all across Mexico, mezcal is mostly made in the fertile plains of Oaxaca. Although mezcal has been slowly appearing in bar menus in the West, the drink is yet to reach around the world. A sibling of the tequila, mezcal originates from the agave plant. The agave plant, without its spiky leaves, looks like a piña which resembles a large pineapple. Many of such large-sized piñas are buried in the ground and covered in ember. Thereafter, it is slow cooked over a few days and distilled. This adds that unique smoky note to the mezcal’s aroma and flavor. It is consumed straight as a shot in Mexico accompanied with slices of lemon, salt, and even fried grasshoppers or ground fried larvae. In the US, mezcal is an ingredient in craft cocktail menus.
Many of us would be surprised at the fact that Mexico does have a thriving wine industry. Baja California is known for its pleasant weather conditions, comparable to the Mediterranean. It is common to find rolling hills of vineyards in every direction. Valle de Guadalupe is usually compared to be the Napa Valley of Mexico for being a great wine region in North America. A wine tour is highly recommended where you can sip on fine wine in traditional hacienda-style buildings overlooking the plain.
Agua de Horchata
Horchata is a non-alcoholic grain-based beverage. The horchata is traditionally made of white rice and cinnamon as core ingredients. There are many varieties of the horchata available. The flavors range from coconut, sweetened tiger nuts, sesame seeds, melon seeds and more. It is prepared and consumed with equal vigor across Mexico, so it is not difficult to find it in restaurants. Sip on this refreshing drink to cool your palette while you devour spicy but tasty tacos or enchiladas.
Tascalate is very common in the state Chiapas in central Mexico. Without a doubt, tascalate is a local’s favorite. This drink made without a drop of alcohol consists of cacao, achiote (annatto), cinnamon, toasted corn, vanilla, and sugar. All of these ingredients are brought together, ground and mixed with water. This sugary delight is best had over a conversation in a coffee shop as a Mexican alternative to coffee. Also, do not forget to try the tascalate de horchata which is more delicious and tastier than its counterpart.
Café de Olla
Begin your day with some traditional Mexican coffee confection. A spicy concoction made of coffee, cinnamon, and piloncillo, the aroma of which fills the air when the coffee is boiled over an open flame. Sipping this freshly brewed drink with a stick of cinnamon in an earthenware mug is undoubtedly an experience in itself. Accompany this masterfully blended beverage with breakfast. Or, the coffe together with complimentary snacks like a sweetbread or tres leches cake is a great combination.
The next time you are in Mexico, try these Mexican beverages and feel like a local.