12 Mexican Drinks You Must Know (and Try)!
Although when you think of Mexican cuisine, your mind might immediately go to all your favorite foods, such as enchiladas and tacos, there are a ton of Mexican drinks you must know as well! In this article, we’ll tell you about 12 Mexican drinks you should try to bring some of the flavors of Mexico to your home.
In this first section, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about seven classic Mexican drinks that do not contain alcohol.
Aguas frescas, also known as “fresh water,” is a refreshing, delicious drink made from water, fresh fruit juice, and a little bit of sugar if you’re craving something sweet. Some of the most popular flavors include hibiscus, cantaloupe, watermelon, and pineapple. These simple, fruity drinks are perfect for a hot summer day where you need to cool off and enjoy the shade.
One of the most popular varieties of aguas frescas is agua de pepino, also known as “cucumber water.” This drink is the perfect way to combat the heat of a summer day because it combines both sweet, salty, and savory flavors. To make it at home, all you need is cucumber, water, ice cubes, sugar, lime juice, and a pinch of salt. Blend your ingredients until the sugar is dissolved, and enjoy!
Usually consumed for breakfast, atole is one of the best ways to start your day in Mexico. To make atole, you just need to combine water, cinnamon, vanilla, masa (corn hominy, the “flour” used to make corn tortillas), and piloncillo. Piloncillo is a type of unrefined cane sugar that’s really popular in Mexican and Southern/Central American cuisine. Although atole is not often served at restaurants, you can find this delicious beverage on almost any street corner being sold by local vendors!
Another drink that you could enjoy as part of breakfast or as dessert is horchata pronounced or-CHAH-tah). This drink is sweet, creamy, and delicious, made primarily from cinnamon and rice and flavored with vanilla. Usually, horchata is served cold over ice with plenty of sugar.
Tepache is a pre-Columbian drink made from fermented pineapple rinds and flavored with cinnamon, piloncillo, and a wide variety of spices and other fruits. Given that tepache was never standardized and taxed by the Spanish conquistadores, several variations of this recipe exist and have been passed down orally from generation to generation. Although the flavor of tepache can vary greatly, what stays the same is its light kombucha-esque texture and refreshing, delicious taste.
The chamoyada, a perfect combination of spicy and sweet, is made from shaved ice, mixed fruit, chili, and chamoy. It’s most common to find a chamoyada made with mango sorbet or mango shaved ice and, therefore, sometimes is called a mangonada or chamango. Usually, the straws served with a chamoyada have tamarind or candy on the outside.
Tejate is a traditional drink from Oaxaca, one of 32 Mexican states known for its “seven moles” and Oaxaca tamales. However, you can’t have these delicious foods without an equally delicious drink like tejate. Tejate is made from a past of toasted maize (corn), fermented cacao beans, mamey pits, and flor de cacao. Once the ingredients are combined, the paste is mixed with water. The flor de cacao rises to the surface of the beverage, creating a delicious foamy head.
Although not technically a drink you can make at home, Mexican Coke is undoubtedly one of the staples of the Mexican drink cuisine. If you’ve had Coke in the US and expect it to taste the same in Mexico, think again. American coke is flavored with high fructose corn syrup which gives it a super sweet, artificial flavor. Mexican Coke, on the other hand, is sweetened with cane sugar. This difference in sweeteners gives Mexican Coke a less chemical flavor.
Now that you know all the non-alcoholic Mexican beverages you have to try, let’s take a look at the classic Mexican alcoholic beverages that are the perfect addition to any Taco Tuesday or backyard party.
Arguably one of the most popular Mexican cocktails outside of Mexico is the margarita. This simple, delicious drink is either served on the rocks or blended with ice. The main ingredients are lime juice, tequila, and triple sec, with a sugar-rimmed glass to cut through the bitterness of the tequila. Although this is the traditional recipe, there are several flavor variations you can try from mango to passionfruit.
Although the exact origins of the margarita aren’t quite clear, one of the popular legends is that Carlos “Danny” Herrera invented the drink at his restaurant, Rancho La Gloria, in Tijuana around 1938. It is thought that Herrera invented the drink for Marjorie King, one of his customers and an aspiring actress who was apparently allergic to all alcohols other than tequila. Apparently, Herrera wanted to turn the traditional elements of a tequila shot, salt, lime, and tequila, into a tasty drink.
Even though mezcal isn’t a cocktail, this distinctive Mexican liquor absolutely deserves a place on this list. You might have heard people using tequila and mezcal interchangeably. Although they are similar, it’s important to know the difference when you travel to Mexico or try to recreate some of its best drinks in your home.
Tequila is a type of mezcal, just like how scotch and bourbon are types of whiskey. Mezcal is any agave-based liquor, whereas tequila is made specifically from blue agave. There are over 30 types of agave in Mexico, so the variety of mezcal available is vast. That being said, mezcal is usually known for having a bolder, smokier flavor than tequila.
If you’re a lover of tequila who can’t quite stomach it in a shot, then the Paloma might be perfect for you. This refreshing drink is perfect for the summertime and is the most popular cocktail in Mexico. In order to make a Paloma, all you need is grapefruit juice or some kind of grapefruit-flavored soda, club soda (if you’re using grapefruit juice), lime, tequila, or mezcal, and sugar if you like your drinks on the sweeter side.
The Michelada, also known as the “Mexican Bloody Mary,” is a spicy, savory cocktail. The base of this cocktail is made from lime juice, tomato or clamato juice, and hot sauce with a salt rim on the glass. To make things more exciting, the drink is then topped with an upside-down beer. While it might sound like an overwhelming combination of flavors, this Mexican classic is hailed by many as a hangover cure.
Although when you hear wine, you might immediately think France, Mexico has a growing wine industry and are producing an amazing variety of both red and white wines. There are three main wine regions in Mexico: Baja California (the largest, most productive region), La Laguna in Coahuila and Durango, and the Center region.
One of the best ways to experience Mexican culture is through the cuisine. Although Mexico is known for its delicious food, there are several Mexican beverages that you have to know and try. From more popular drinks like horchata and the margarita to lesser-known but equally delicious drinks such as tepache and the michelada, there is an endless amount of drinks you have to try, so start sipping today!