Mexican drinks are known for their bold and complex flavours that reflect the country’s rich cultural heritage. Mexico is a country renowned for its vibrant culture, rich history, and delicious cuisine.
One aspect of this culinary heritage that often goes overlooked is the incredible variety of beverages Mexico offers. From classic cocktails like the margarita and paloma to traditional drinks like horchata and tepache, Mexican beverages are diverse and delicious.
Beyond the cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks, Mexico is also home to a range of unique spirits, including tequila, mezcal, and raicilla. Each of these spirits has its own distinct flavour and production process, making them a must-try for any fan of Mexican cuisine.
Regional drinks are also a big part of the Mexican beverage scene, with each state boasting its speciality beverages. From the spicy michelada of Jalisco to the sweet charanda of Michoacán, these regional drinks are a testament to the diversity and richness of Mexican culture.
This article will explore the best Mexican drinks, from classic cocktails to traditional beverages and everything in between. So sit back, pour yourself a glass, and get ready to discover the amazing world of Mexican beverages!
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Mexican Spirit Drinks
Mexican spirits are an integral part of the country’s culinary heritage and offer a unique and complex taste experience that should not be missed.
It’s made from agave, specifically, a variety called Agave Pacifica and Agave Yaquiana that grows in the mountains with large diurnal swings between hot days and cold nights. Typical bacanoras have less of the smoke flavour that you’ll find in many mezcals. It’s made similarly, however.
The agaves, often harvested from the wild, are roasted in an underground pit. They are then crushed traditionally. This was, and in some cases still is, done with a donkey-powered stone wheel called a tahona or by men wielding wooden mallets. The fibres are wild fermented in nature by ambient yeast before the lightly alcoholic liquid is distilled twice and bottled.
A distilled spirit made from the agave plant is produced primarily in the state of Jalisco. It is similar to mezcal but has a less smoky flavour and is usually made with a different variety of agave.
Mezcal is both a specific type of liquor and a blanket term for all agave-based distilled alcohol. Tequila, for example, is a type of mezcal and sets itself apart by rules that dictate where it can be made and the type of agave used.
Dozens of varieties of agave are allowed. Espadin is most common, though wild varieties like tobala and cuishe make distinct-tasting mezcals. Some producers blend agave varieties, like Campante, which makes a mezcal using both espadin and barril. Grassy and lightly sweet flavours are common, with some varieties adding citrusy, floral, and even pickled notes.
Whichever agave variety the mezcalero chooses, the pinas (agave hearts) are cooked in an underground pit, which gives many (but not all) mezcals a distinct smoky flavour, and then fermented in the open air.
While Mexico’s most famous spirits are made from agave, sotol takes a different approach. It’s made from the sotol plant, which is also called the desert spoon in English.
While most people think sotol is made from an agave plant, it is not. Sotol is the rich cousin of the agave plant. The name is also unique because it is one of the only distilled spirits named after what it is made of.
It’s highly aromatic and has deep earthy notes. While it can stand out in a cocktail, it can also be enjoyed neat, like a fine tequila or mezcal, but don’t expect it to deliver the same sweet agave flavours.
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Traditional Mexican Drinks
If you’re looking for a drink that’s both savoury and spicy, you’ll want to check out the michelada. It’s a bit like a Bloody Mary but has a richer, more robust flavour.
To make a traditional Mexican michelada, you have to use clamato instead of pure tomato juice, which gives it a nice kick of umami flavour. The hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce give it a bit of tang and heat, and whichever Mexican light beer you choose, it’s sure to taste great.
Pulque is an alcoholic beverage whose consumption dates back to pre-Hispanic times. Pulque is a traditional beverage made from the fermentation of agave or maguey and has a thick and viscous consistency.
In pre-Hispanic times, this drink was kept for the gods, their representatives on earth (like priests), elders, and warriors. Now we can all enjoy this drink and testify to how great this ancient creation is.
Champurrado Traditional Mexican drink for winter
If you’re looking for something sweet to warm up from the freezing temperatures, this ancient variant of atole is one of the favourite traditional Mexican drinks.
It’s made with corn dough (which gives it a thick consistency) and flavoured with either dark chocolate or actual cocoa beans. Champurrado has existed since the Aztec era, and the recipe is still intact.
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Mexican Cocktail Drinks
Mexican cocktails are some of the world’s most iconic and beloved drinks. They are the perfect accompaniment to a spicy plate of tacos or a delicious bowl of guacamole. Here are some of the most popular Mexican cocktails:
The Mexican version of the famously recognized Russian mule was created in the late 19th century from the ideal mashup of vodka and ginger beer served in a copper mug that kept it cool and improved its flavour and scent.
The flavorful, sour, and spicy Mexican Mule swaps vodka for tequila. This drink is perfect for a hot day; you only need lime juice, ginger beer, and a copper mug filled with ice.
The Bloody Maria is a classic vodka cocktail, but swap out the liquor for tequila, and you’ve got a Bloody Maria! This Mexican-style spin on the classic is worth trying; it’s tangy, spicy, and perfectly seasoned. The tequila brings a bright nuance to the drink, where vodka can get lost.
The chelada is another type of cervesa preparada: a beer cocktail, or “prepared beer” in Spanish. A Chelada features a Mexican lager with lime, versus the Michelada, which is like a Bloody Mary made with beer. Top it off with a salty rim, and it’s ideal for any occasion: a laid-back brunch, cocktails on the patio, or a dinner of shrimp tacos.
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Another classic Mexican cocktail made with tequila and grapefruit soda It is usually served over ice with a salt rim.
a cocktail made with tequila, orange juice, and grenadine syrup. It is usually served over ice and garnished with a slice of orange.
Mexican cocktails are delicious and offer a taste of Mexico’s vibrant and colorful culture.
Know your Tequila
Tequila Blanco or white tequila
It’s bottled immediately after being distilled. Sometimes colourants such as caramel are added to produce Tequila oro.
White tequila is kept in white oak casks for over two months and up to a year. The result is a mellower flavour and bouquet.
It is aged in white oak casks for more than a year, acquiring an amber colour and a distinctively smooth flavour. Some aged tequilas are stored in oak barrels for up to eight years and are known as reservas.
Non-alcoholic Mexican Drinks
If you prefer non-alcoholic drinks, there are several delicious options to choose from in Mexican cuisine. Here are some popular non-alcoholic Mexican drinks:
Agua De Fresa (Mexican strawberry water)
This recipe is extremely flavorful and refreshing, especially when fresh strawberries are in season. Fresh fruit waters, or Aguas de Frutas, are made with crushed or blended fruit and are common and popular drinks all over Mexico.
Tepache, a beverage from pre-colonial Mexico, is today primarily produced from fermented pineapples. Typically, brown or cane sugar (piloncillo), pineapple chunks (with the rind), and spices like cinnamon, cloves, allspice, or ginger make up the drink’s foundation.
The mixture is then covered with water and allowed to ferment for a few days before the beverage is ready to be served. Tepache is frequently referred to as “funky” and is low in alcohol, mildly effervescent, softly acidic, and flavorful. It is frequently served at Mexican taquerias and frequently offered in plastic bags or containers.
Atole is a thick, corn-based drink native to Mexico and Central America, where it is consumed as a breakfast drink or sipped in the evening after dinner. It can be made from cornmeal, cornstarch, or masa harina, a type of flour used in traditional Mexican cooking.
The consistency and texture very much depend on the type of starch used; ideally, it should be thick, creamy, and without any lumps. The original, pre-Spanish Conquest recipe always called for water as its base liquid; nowadays, it can be made with milk, water, or a combination of both.
Licuado is a Mexican blended beverage consisting of milk, fresh fruit, and ice. The drink is popular throughout Latin America, where it is also known as batido.
Licuado, which means blended or liquefied, may also contain nuts, honey, and spices such as vanilla, cloves, or cinnamon, while in some varieties, fruit can be replaced with chocolate. Due to its nutritive value, licuado is considered a quintessential breakfast to provide energy for the day. It is usually served in a tall glass garnished with fruit.
Licuado de Mango
A creamy, sweet mango smoothie is made with fresh mango, milk or yoghurt, and sugar. It is usually served over ice and garnished with a slice of mango.
Mexican Hot Chocolate
a warm and comforting drink made with cocoa powder, milk, sugar, and cinnamon. It is usually served hot and is perfect for chilly evenings or as a dessert.
These non-alcoholic Mexican drinks are delicious and offer a glimpse into the country’s rich culinary traditions. They are a perfect choice for anyone looking for refreshing and flavorful drinks without alcohol.
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Mexican drinks offer a rich and diverse range of flavours that reflect the country’s vibrant culture and culinary heritage. From traditional drinks like horchata and champurrado to the famous spirits of tequila and mezcal, Mexican drinks have something to offer everyone.
Whether you are looking for a refreshing non-alcoholic beverage or a bold and complex spirit, a Mexican drink suits your taste. These drinks are popular in Mexico and have gained international recognition for their unique flavours and quality.
Overall, exploring the world of Mexican drinks is an exciting and rewarding experience that is sure to satisfy your thirst for adventure and delicious flavours. So, raise a glass and enjoy the taste of Mexico in every sip!
FAQs for Best mexican drinks
What is the most popular Mexican drink?
Tequila – Of all the popular shots in Mexico, tequila is the most famous, and it’s found behind bars all over the world. Made from fermented blue agave plants, the process of distilling tequila is strictly regulated, and only a few places in the country can produce it.
What drink should I get at a Mexican restaurant?
Raicilla – While raicilla was once considered Mexico’s moonshine with few guidelines for distillation, mixologists in the country and even in the US are starting to use it in crafting Mexican cocktails.
Also made from the agave plant, it has a little of mezcal’s smoky flavour but with more fruity and floral notes as well.
What is the national drink of Mexico?
Tequila! Tequila is all the rage; make no mistake about it. Mexico’s national drink is now one of the world’s top three-selling liquors, with 600 brands, a club of devoted connoisseurs, and an ever-increasing number of converts.