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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I'm thirsty, what should I drink in Mexico?????

First, what not to drink.  Water out of taps is generally something NOT to drink.  Also street vendors that have large juice/drink containers that have chunk ice in them are not made with clean water.  I would definitely stay away from them.  Especially since you can buy a 5 gallon plastic container of purified water for about 30 pesos.  Also, last year I purchased a ceramic water dispenser on a stand for about 100 pesos.  You can either fill the container and put on the lid, or tip the large plastic container upside down and put it on top of the dispenser.

Small bottles of water and a variety of flavored drinks and juices are available from most grocery and convenience stores, but the prices are comparable to Canada and the USA.  However, fruit juices in liter containers are also available in grocery stores, and some of them are fantastic and cheap.  I've found some that are as low as 6.5 pesos but these are generally fruit drinks, not juices.  Some of the better juices (like Mango, Pineapple, Orange, etc) are about twice the price, but also twice as good.

Milk in Mexico is interesting because it comes in liter containers that apparently can be stored indefinitely until opened.  Once opened, they will last in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks.  This milk doesn't taste exactly like the milk north of the border, but it suffices.

Now to my favorite drinks - alcohol.  Let's start with the old standby beer.  There are many regional beers in Mexico that are quite good.  My favorites in central Mexico are bottled Dos Equis (and I like the amber best), Indio; and in Jalisco, Pacifico is great.  Canned Tecate is also very good, but it definitely needs limon (lime) mixed in.  Most Mexican's seem to like their beer with both salt and limons.  Another great way to drink beer in Mexico is the Michelada.  To make one, add salt or a mixture of salt and ground chile's to the rim of a glass.  Then put about an ounce of limon juice and Jugo sauce in and add beer.

If you like a little wine with dinners, I would still not recommend buying the wines from here.  However, over the last 20 years or so, Mexican wines have improved drastically and some of them might actually be drinkable.  They are no longer like vinegar.  I prefer to buy Spanish wines which are readily available in the various Walmart's and Mega Stores here.  As far as cost goes though, they are fairly expensive (approx. 100-150 pesos per bottle).  I have found good Cabernet's and Merlot's for as low as 60 pesos that are not bad.

But, of course, the main drink in Mexico is Tequila.  There are hundreds of different brands, but my absolute favorite is Corralejo.  It comes in a tall blue bottle and the Reposado is so smooth you can drink it easily straight up.  It is aged in pottery, and this seems to add a great flavor to it.  It is a little expensive at about 250 pesos for 750 ml, but it's worth it.

Other great ones here are Don Julio and Patron (but I've heard this is only available as an export).  I've found that Reposado is the best blend, and one of my friends here told me that the white reposado is the ultimate.  Now, how to drink tequila properly.  Many Canadians/Americans like to do tequila shooters.  this will definitely warm you up quickly; as well as get you drunk. To drink tequila as a gentleman requires a different technique.

The drink is called a bandera, or flag, and is sipped rather than shot.  The reason they call it a flag is because it is comprised of the three colors of the Mexican flag.  Green, white and red.  Limons (limes) is the green.  Tequila is the white, and something called Sangrita is the red.  You can buy bottled Sangrita, but I prefer making my own.  Put two parts of tomato juice,and one part orange juice (I like to do the orange part with 1/2 orange juice and 1/2 orange pop) into a blender.  Add some limon juice, Worcesterchire or Lea & Perrin's Sauce and chopped onion (about 1/2 cup).  Blend well and then refrigerate for a day or two.

When the Sangrita is ready, fill one shooter glass with tequila and another with Sangrita.  Cut a limon in half and you are ready.  Add a few drops of limon to the Sangrita and then take a sip of tequila; followed by an equal sip of Sangrita.  On a cold winter Mexican day, this will warm you up quickly;  and you won't get drunk for at least a few of these.

Of course there are all of the other types of alcohol available including Vodka, Gin, Brandy and Rum.  Even the favorite liquor Kahlua, and another liquor called Rompope (a banana flavored drink made by Catholic nuns).  All of these alcohols are relatively inexpensive, approximately 120 pesos for 750 ml).  My favorites are Captain Morgan's rum, and recently found the dark version (47 % alcohol instead of the normal 30-35%) for around 150 pesos.  Compared to over 30.00 Cdn. per bottle - this isn't bad.

Tomorrow I'll explain how to have a barbecue in Mexico.