By Michelle da Silva Richmond
Fall is here and we’re kicking off the season with a roster of new, signature cocktails while celebrating the Mexican tradition of tequila and mezcal distillation.
Once known primarily for tequila, Mexico’s beverage repertoire has morphed over the years into a wide selection of rich aromas, textures and flavors. Based on longstanding Mexican tradition once limited to home-made brews and small village production, these drinks were typically used for toasting small family events and community celebrations throughout the country. Things have changed and Mexican spirits have since joined the ranks of some of the most popular worldwide.
Tequila, obtained from fermented and distilled “Blue Agave,” the only one allowed in its production, came originally from the town of Tequila, in the state of Jalisco. According to Mexican law, it can only be produced in that state and limited municipalities in the states of Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit and Tamaulipas.
Mezcal (from Nahuatl meaning “oven-cooked agave”) is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from varieties of the agave plant. The official Mexican standard recognizes more than 20 varieties of the plant in the production of Mezcal in 12 states: Oaxaca is the largest producer, with Durango, Guerrero, San Luis Potosí and Puebla among the most prominent. Each variety generates a mezcal with a different flavor, classified as “ancestral,” meaning that they meet certain criteria in their production – such as grinding with a mallet and distilled in clay pots or, in the case of the “artisanal class,” ground with brush cutters and distilled in copper stills.
“This fall, the hotel celebrates the great Mexican tradition of distillate production,” says Coral Beach Bar Manager Alejandro Moo. “Many of these were once limited to homemade or village productions, without taking away from their richness in aromas, textures and flavors.”
“Thirty years ago, tequila, the iconic Mexican drink par excellence, was celebrated worldwide,” he adds. “Later it would be accompanied by mezcal, giving rise to the artisanal production of mezcal, which is now found in 12 Mexican states identified with the distillation of exceptional agaves.”
Signature Cocktails Created to Usher in Fall:
- Charanda Tonic: Charanda Tonic + Grapefruit Juice + Lime juice + Ginger Syrup + Tonic water
- Mixe: Mezcal + Apaluz + Chamomile Tea + Passionfruit + Agave Syrup
- Hass Margarita: Aged Tequila + Avocado +Triple Sec + Lime Juice + Orange Juice + Jalapeño Syrup
- Flor Cenizo: Sotol + Ancho Reyes Liqueur + Hibiscus + Tarragon Syrup
- Nayarita: Raicilla + Red Wine Reduction + Cassis + Rosemary Syrup + Ginger beer
- Dunas de Sonora: Bacanora + Apaluz Tamarind +Triple Sec + Pineapple Puree + Agave Syrup
Popular Mexican Spirits
Charanda – Meaning, “red land” in the Purepecha dialect, it was named in honor of La Charanda Hill located, in the vicinity of Uruapan and has been prepared from sugar cane juice since 1857.
Bacanora – A distillate of agave (Angustifolia Haw) originating from the state of Sonora, which in the indigenous language of the Opatas “bacanoraco,” means “slope of reeds.” This ethnic group developed a fermented drink drawn from cooked agave and water, using it for their most important rituals and festivities.
Sotol – Distilled from the Dasylirion agave, from the Asparagaceae family, which grows in the desert of northern Mexico. This spirit is produced in the states of Chihuahua, Durango and Coahuila. The word sotol or zotol comes from the Nahuatl word “tzotollin” meaning “the sweet of the head.”
Raicilla – This agave distillate is obtained from the distillation of various types of agave, that are harvested in the territory covered by the appellation of origin of raicilla in the states of Jalisco and Nayarit.