kEYWORDS: Mexico- Mexico travel, tourism, holidays, backpacking, monuments, temples, churches, pyramids, food & drink, history, mexican art.
In the great Indian civilizations of the central highlands of Mexico, Pulque was served as a ritual intoxicant for priests-to increase their enthusiasm, for sacrificial victims-to ease their passing, and as a medicinal drink. Pulque was also served as a liquor reserved to celebrate the feats of the brave and the wise, and was even considered to be an acceptable substitute for blood in some propitiatory ceremonies(wikipidia).
Pulque is a milky, slightly foamy and somewhat viscous alcoholic beverage made by fermenting the fresh sap of Maguey plant. Agua Miel (Honey water), as is called the juice of Maguey before its fermentation, which takes about twelve hours, is less smelly but after the liquid is fermented, its stench is revolting. Cities and towns as late as 1950s, were full of pulquerias (grog shops), places with colourfully painted facades , selling this sour smelling liquid to the poor peons.
These pulquerias were not different from the Gin shops in London's East End in 1600-1700s and its taste will remind you of the Moonshine brewed by the hillbillies of the deep South in the USA.
Another beverage made from distilling the boiled Maguey is Mezcal and Taquila. Most of Mezcal is made in the State of Oaxaca, where there is a saying: Mezcal para todo, para bien y para mal (Mezcal for all, good and bad). However, the Oaxaca's traditional energy drink is Tejate 'the beverage of Gods'',which was reserved for the ruling elite of Zapotec society, but nowadays you can drink it in the markets of Oaxaca. The juice is made from corn, roasted cacao beens, seeds and rosita flowers, the ingredients blended in a thick mush and gradually thinned with water, served cold in colourful gourd bowls.
In Mexico as in many other tropical countries, there is a great variety of refreshing drinks. Horchata is a traditional Spanish drink, introduced in the country by the Moors, which is elaborated with the juice made of of Tiger Nut/Sedge Nut (La Chufa), peanuts or almonds, cane sugar, cinnamon. The ingredients are blended and then diluted with water and served cold. Horchata Valenciana, aromatic and sweet, is the famous summer beverage in Spain.
However in Mexico, where the beverage was introduced by the Spaniards, Horchata is prepared with rice flour, almonds, cane sugar, lime juice/zest and cinnamon, all blended together. You can have it with vanilla or topped with rum, strawberry water (agua de fresas) or water melon or mango juice, sugarcane juice, all well known refreshing drinks.
However, cold or frozen margaritas for the hot days are ideal. We found a large variety of margaritas, made with kiwi, grapefruit, pomegranate seeds, rosemary and lemon, taquila margarita and last but not least, Prickly Pear margaritas, cocktails, fruit juices with prickley pear juice. All taste divine and having time on your hands, relaxed and lazy, there is no reason why you should not have a few cocktails.
If you like margaritas or Horchata de Tuna, the traditional Oaxacan drink, then you will be bewitched by Mojito, the white rum drink made with lime juice, brown sugar, soda water, mint leaves pushed in the glass, a slice of lime, ice to cool it and Voila! A cocktail for the summer sultry days. I prepare it with Jamaican or Cuban rum with a drop of angustura to give it a little kick.
Another refreshing drink we had was Agua de Tamarindo (Tamarind water). Tamarind fruit as you may well know, is a sour fruit, its juice is made by soaking the flesh in water for about twenty minutes, then mashing the flesh with your fingers until the pulp is soft, straining it and adding sugar or cane sugar or honey, lime juice, cinnamon, vanilla etc. You can buy prepared tamarind juice in bottles and cans from supermarkets and ethnic grocery stores. It is a popular drink in South East Asia, Africa and of course in Mexico. Tamarind pulp is used in culinary dishes and in preparation of hot chilli sauce, coriander and mint sauce etc.
There is a good variety of beers in Mexico, the different beers which I had there were Sol, Dos Equis, Negra and Modelo Especial, Corona and Cerveza del Pacifico. Negra Modelo is dark beer (as the name suggests) with a taste of malt, but does not compare to brown ale or Altbeer of Germany. and the Pacifico has less gas, is light and sits better in the stomach.
So on your first or the next visit to Mexico, enjoy its culinary delights and indulge in its enticing and refreshing drinks. Salud y buena suerte.