Micheladas with prawns
A much beloved and delicious Mexican beverage, micheladas are made in a huge variety of ways. They typically contain icy beer with lime juice, Maggi seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce, all served in a glass tumbler with a salted rim. However, micheladas are also offered with a culinary twist. The rim of the glass can be decorated with boiling crab shrimp and cucumber, making it more a meal than a beer cocktail. For added firepower, a tequila shot is sometimes added to the spicy mix.
The sour and frothy pre-Hispanic drink pulque has made something of a comeback in recent years, thanks to a young, urban crowd looking for an alternative to beer. Yet pulque earns its place on this list because its viscous texture takes some getting used to. The white beverage has been consumed in Mexico for at least 2,000 years, making it the very elderly ancestor to tequila and mezcal. The drink has a much lower alcohol content (usually between 2% and 8%) and is made by fermenting—instead of distilling—the sap of the agave, the spiky plant that forms the basis of so many of Mexico’s alcoholic drinks.
When you think of tequila, images of shots with lime and salt no doubt spring to mind. However, Mexicans have many other ways of consuming their national beverage, and drinking from a big clay pot is one of the most exciting. Cantaritos pots are traditionally filled with a powerful blend of tequila, lime and grapefruit juice, and are especially popular in the state of Jalisco, where most tequila is produced. Tourists on the tequila trail, in the village of Amatitán, often indulge in a cantaritos on their trip, and the empty clay pot serves as a fitting souvenir of their visit. El Güero Bar in Amatitán has been serving the iconic drink to thirsty visitors since 1997.
Cantaritos El Güero, Carretera Libre a Tequila km 49, Amatitán, Jalisco, +52 374 100 4569
Shots with a scorpion
Scorpion shots are found at festivals and events throughout the country and are a regular feature at the Reyes Salón Cantina in Guadalajara. The mezcal shot is served with a few grains of dry ice that make the glass steam, and at the bottom of each shot is an alcohol-soaked scorpion. At the Reyes Salón the scorpion on offer is the Centruroides baergi, a bark scorpion that presents no risk of poisoning patrons. The bar recommends chewing the crunchy arachnid before washing it down with the healthy dose of smoky Oaxacan mezcal.
Reyes Salón Cantina, Real Acueducto 4851, Real Acueducto, Zapopan, Jalisco, +521 333 499 1859
Vampiro in a bag
The tiny village of San Luis Soyatlán in the western state of Jalisco is famed for its vampiros — cocktails made with tequila, grapefruit soda and sangrita — a spicy blend of orange juice, salt, lime and red chili. Traditionally, the drink is served in a plastic bag with a straw, hence the name vampiro, or vampire — drinkers look like they’re sucking up blood with each sip. In San Luis Soyatlán, the refreshing drink is served in bags of various sizes. The biggest holds over a liter, while the smallest holds less liquid than that found in a can of coke.