Fourteen Authentic Mexican Drinks Everyone Should Try
Mexico is known for its distinct and delicious cuisine, and one very important part of that cuisine is the drinks! In this post, we’ll take a look at fourteen authentic Mexican drinks you should try next time you’re feeling creative in the kitchen or are lucky enough to travel to Mexico.
We’ll start by taking a look at some traditional Mexican beverages that are non-alcoholic, many of which date back to pre-Columbian Mexico.
Tepache is a light, bubbly beverage made from fermented pineapple rinds and is often flavored with cinnamon and panela. This delicious drink has its origins in pre-Columbian Mexico and comes in several different varieties. Much like kombucha, tepache is an incredibly nutritious probiotic drink and makes a great base for tequila cocktails.
Today, tepache is wildly popular in Mexico as a street beverage and is gaining popularity outside of Mexico as a healthier alternative to drinks such as soda.
Another traditional, fermented Mexican drink is tejuino. Tejuino is made from fermented corn, but given that it’s only given a few days to ferment, the alcohol content is very low. The basic ingredients of tejuino are corn, water, lime juice, and sugar. Oftentimes, it’s served with a scoop of lime sorbet or over shaved ice. This is a delicious drink that is tart, sweet, and salty, making it perfect for a hot summer day!
Horchata is one of the most popular authentic Mexican beverages. The base of horchata is white rice soaked in water. Much like tepache, it’s often spiced with cinnamon and sweetened with sugar. After all the ingredients are added, the mixture is blended and then strained to give it a smooth texture. Part of the reason horchata is so popular is that it’s really easy to make at home, given that it requires few ingredients and little preparation time.
The name aguas frescas literally translates to “flavored water,” and that’s a perfect way to describe this delicious, refreshing drink! You can make aguas frescas by blending fruits such as pineapple, strawberries, and melon with water, a little bit of lime juice, and some sweetener.
Unlike pressed juice, aguas frescas are often served unfiltered, which means they retain the nutritious fiber of the fruits. This also means that they are much easier to make at home than other types of filtered juice.
Agua de Jamaica
One specific type of agua fresca that is common and delicious is auga de jamaica, a staple at taquerias in both Mexico and the US. Agua de Jamaica is a tea made from hibiscus flowers that have a slightly tart flavor and a deep reddish-purple color. To make agua de jamaica, all you have to do is steep hibiscus flowers in water, as you would tea leaves when making normal tea, and then add as much sweetener as you’d like.
Atole (pronounced ah-TOH-leh) is a warm, comforting drink made from masa harina. Masa harina is the type of flour used to make corn tortillas, so atole has a thick texture and is often served for breakfast or after dinner as a dessert. It is thought that atole dates back to either the Aztecs or the Mayans and is often found today at Dia de los Muertos celebrations.
Café de Olla
Another warm, authentic drink is café de olla, which translates directly to “coffee from a pot.” Although café de olla was traditionally made in a large pot, what truly separates it from other types of coffee are the unique spices used to add flavor. The most common spices added to café de olla are cinnamon and piloncillo, a dark sugar. Sometimes, orange peel and star anise are also added to give the coffee a more distinct flavor. This drink is popular in wintertime and, consequently, is a staple at many Christmas celebrations.
Similar to how café de olla is sometimes referred to as Mexican coffee, champurrado is sometimes referred to as Mexican hot chocolate. This thick, delicious beverage is made with Mexican chocolate, masa harina, milk, water, and spices such as cinnamon and vanilla. Given that it is served warm and has such a rich flavor, champurrado is a great drink for cold winter nights.
Not to be confused with tepache, tejate is a traditional drink that was originally made in Oaxaca and dates back to the pre-Columbian era. Tejate is one of the more complex traditional drinks, made from maize, fermented cacao beans, and other ingredients that are finely ground into a paste and then mixed with water. Usually, tejate is sweetened in some way and served over ice.
Chamoyada is a drink that’s similar to American shaved ice but is more like a liquid than a dessert. This traditional Mexican beverage is sweet, spicy, and fruity and is often flavored with chamoy. Chamoy is a type of savory sauce made in Mexico from pickled fruit. The most common fruit used to make chamoyada is mango sorbet or mango shaved ice, so it’s sometimes referred to as mangonada or chamango. In order to make cahomyada, you have to mix together chamoy sauce, shaved ice, chili powder, and fruit chunks. The result is a delicious, tropical delight!
Now we’ll take a look at some of the most iconic alcoholic beverages and cocktails that Mexico has to offer!
You might have heard mezcal and tequila used interchangeably, but technically speaking, tequila is a type of mezcal. The general definition of mezcal is any liquor made from agave, whereas tequila can only be made from blue Weber agave. Although there are a wide variety of mezcals available, for the most part, this liquor is known for its smoky flavor. The smokiness of the liquor is due to the fact that the agave plants are cooked in pits before they are distilled, unlike tequila which is made from uncooked agave.
The Paloma is sometimes referred to as Mexico’s most beloved cocktail, and for good reason. This simple, delicious drink is made from tequila, sparkling water, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and sea salt. The result is a refreshing cocktail that’s easy to drink and a perfect complement to warm weather and sunshine.
Similarly to tepache, pulque is a fermented drink that dates back to pre-Colombian Mexico. Pulque is made from the fermented sap of the agave plant, the same plant used to make mezcal and tequila. It has a creamy white color, thick texture, and sour flavor.
Ponche is a warm alcoholic beverage that is similar to punch and is a staple at Christmas time. This delicious drink is easy to make and can be served with or without alcohol. Oftentimes fruits such as apples, pears, oranges, and guavas give ponche its fruity flavor, and spices such as cinnamon, cloves, tamarind, and hibiscus give it a kick! If you’re hoping to make your ponche alcoholic, rum and brandy pair nicely with the flavor of this comforting holiday beverage.
There are so many delicious, authentic Mexican beverages to try, from tepache to pulque. Many of these drinks date back to pre-Columbian Mexico and can be made in several different ways, so there’s an endless amount of tasty drinks out there for you to try!