July 4, 2022

I might bet that you’ll be able to order a tequila-based cocktail at just about any bar in The usa. And in maximum main towns, it is advisable most likely sub tequila for its smoky cousin, mezcal. The American marketplace is humming with pleasure for Mexican spirits — simply closing yr, Mexico exported just about 1000000000 liters of tequila to the USA.

Whilst you will have both or either one of those well known agave spirits sitting in your house bar cart, make some house for a couple of further bottles. In the end, a few of Mexico’s oldest and maximum scrumptious spirits are after all making their strategy to the U.S., and we are right here for it.

Mexico’s wealthy cultural culinary historical past and biodiverse panorama is reflected in its spirits choices, and pass a ways past simply mezcal and tequila. Even though lesser identified within the U.S., pox, sotol, and raicilla are 3 scrumptious Mexican spirits price paying extra consideration to.

Cesar Estrada, the Meals & Beverage Director on the Thompson Zihuatanejo, a 5-star lodge in southwest Mexico, guides visitors via a tastings of Mexican spirits, together with pox, sotol, and raicilla. “One of the most good fortune of those spirits is certainly the reality of getting a character to face on my own,” says Señor Cesar. Learn on to be told extra about Mexico’s personality-filled spirit choices.


Pox (pronounced “posh”) is a corn distillate that has been made through the Tzotzil Mayans within the mountainous area of Chiapas in southern Mexico for hundreds of years. Historically used medicinally for bodily and religious illnesses, pox additionally has symbolic significance to the Tzotzil Mayans.

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“[Pox] is an emblem of indigenous resistance,” writes Ximena N. Beltran Quan Kiu. Quan Kiu explains that within the sixteenth century, the Tzotzil Mayans effectively defended their land and tradition from Spanish missionaries, safeguarding their customs and traditions — “together with their use of pox in ceremonial rites.”

In contrast to extra mainstream spirits, whose elements and manufacturing is tightly supervised through the Mexican govt and regulatory organizations, pox manufacturers have a large number of say over what is going into their spirit and the way it’s made.

The Chiapas-based distillery Siglo Cero is without doubt one of the few manufacturers who imported to the U.S. To make pox, Siglo Cero crushes water with sugarcane to make piloncillo, then combines it with wheat bran, and 4 forms of flooring heirloom corn and fermented for 10 to 18 days. The result is a double-distilled transparent spirit full of creamy roasted corn flavors and aromas, a silky texture, and a blank, tingly end. Señor Cesar suggests attempting pox on my own as a digestive sip to actually experience its “soul of corn and sugarcane.”


Sotol is to northern Mexico what mezcal is to the south. This is a non-agave spirit that may be made simplest in Chihuahua, Durango, or Coahuila, Mexico because it has had its personal appellation since 2002. Sotol is distilled from a shrub known as dasylirion wheeleri, extra repeatedly referred to as “sotol” in Spanish or “wasteland spoon” in English, this is local to the deserts of northern Mexico.

Sotol is a plant within the Asparagaceae circle of relatives — sure, that asparagus. Just like the springtime asparagus we all know, which pops up reasonably comically, the sotol plant vegetation with a tall and lanky inventory that juts up from the low shrub. In contrast to the agave plant which vegetation as soon as in its lifetime, sotol matures over a few years and vegetation more than one instances.

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To make sotol, the center (or piña) of the shrub is harvested, roasted, shredded, and fermented. Led through Grasp Sotolier José “Chito” Fernandez Flores, Flor Del Desierto’s Sotol Sierra is made out of 18-to 20-year-old sotol vegetation which are wild-harvested within the state of Chihuahua, then reduce through hand and processed.

The Flor Del Desierto makes use of massive copper pots to distill their sotol now not as soon as however two times. Their sotol smells distinctly of inexperienced herbs and grass clippings (in the most efficient, ultra-fresh manner). Its taste is tremendous blank and savory, stuffed with mint, pine, and eucalyptus. Sotol’s herbaceous notes pair completely in a cocktail with lime, brand new herbs, and even ginger — take a look at substituting it for tequila in considered one of my favourite cocktails, the Grapefruit-Rosemary Margarita.


Essentially the most very similar to tequila of this bunch, raicilla is an agave spirit that hails the southwest of Jalisco, the state of Mexico identified for its agave manufacturing. Whilst tequila is simplest made out of blue agave grown and harvested in Jalisco, raicilla can also be made out of more than one forms of agave relying on the place in Jalisco it’s harvested — through the ocean or within the mountains. Like different agave spirits (and sotol from its eponymous plant), raicilla is made out of the center of the agave plant this is roasted and distilled.

At Estancia Distillery in L. a. Estancia de Landeros, Jalisco, Maestro Raicillero Alfredo Salvatierra and his group use extra conventional strategies of their manufacturing procedure. The agave is roasted in massive adobe ovens, fermented in moderately porous clay pots known as amphora, elderly in oak, then two times distilled in copper and metal.

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For 45% ABV, Estancia’s raicilla is unusually clean, with an herby, citrusy brightness. Recognized for its softer, sweeter taste, raicilla can also be loved by itself or blended right into a cocktail. “Raicilla has the ability and power to be blended or served on my own for gradual sipping,” says Señor Cesar. “[Try it] paired with a vanilla, cinnamon, or chocolate dessert.”