This post is also available in: Español
Many people seem to have a love/hate relationship with tequila, but true booze connoisseurs bow down in awe to this agave fire water.
Tequila comes from blue agave, a type of cactus found in a town called — you guessed it — Tequila. Most Mexicans will tell you that a high-quality tequila should only be enjoyed one way: sipped slowly, sans mixers or production value.
But traditions are meant to be broken, so many Mexicans concoct delicious tequila-based creations. It can be mixed with Coca-Cola to make a charro negro (black cowboy), or with grapefruit soda for a paloma (dove).
And while there’s nothing wrong with taking a shot with salt and lime, these six tequila cocktails alone are worth a trip to Mexico City:
1. Margarita al Pastor
What’s in it: Herradura tequila, cointreau, lime, pineapple juice and agave honey. It’s called “Al Pastor” (shepherd style) after the region’s popular al pastor tacos made of marinated pork with salsa, cilantro, onion, lime and pineapple.
When to drink it: Perfect before a night of dancing.
2. Tequila Guerrero
What’s in it: Cuervo Especial tequila, tamarind extract, lime juice, grenadine, habanero and serrano chili peppers. This sweet and spicy blend is for brave guerreros (warriors) only.
Where to get it: El Péndulo, a local chain of bookstore restaurants.
When to drink it: It’s the middle of the week but you’ve got urgent news to share with your BFF.
3. Margarita Garden
What’s in it: Dobel Diamante Tequila, pineapple, cilantro, Serrano chili pepper syrup and worm salt.
Where to get it: Mercado Roma, a gourmet food hall (read: hipster roof garden) with gourmet food and drinks.
When to drink it: At the start of your best friend’s bachelor party.
4. Rojo Bikino, aka The Moustache
What’s in it: Don Julio 70 tequila, luxardo cherry, cinnamon-infused coffee liqueur, bitter orange, organic mint with icing sugar and black cherries on a bamboo stick.
Where to get it: Jules Basement, probably the coolest bar in Mexico City. This underground spot is reminiscent of a speakeasy. (The entrance is a hidden door in a refrigerator at the back of a restaurant.)
When to drink it: It’s the weekend, which means it’s time to get your flirt on.
What’s in it: White Don Julio tequila, rosemary syrup, pineapple juice and chili pepper liqueur.
Where to get it: Aurora, a trendy bar featuring live jazz and light Italian food on an open-air patio. This spot is dark, quiet and, above all, romantic.
When to drink it: It’s a first date and you’re sensing sparks.
What’s in it: Mezcal, strawberries, orange juice, rose petals and worm salt. (Yes, we know Mezcal and Tequila are technically different liquors, and mezcal’s a bit stronger. Still, both drinks come from agave, and it’s something everyone should try at least once.)
Where to get it: Corazón de Maguey, a restaurant in Coyoacán, a big tourist spot in South Mexico City. While you’re there you must get a churro, too. That’s mandatory.
When to drink it: It’s your birthday but you’re celebrating with family and can’t get too wrecked.
(Featured image via Thomassin Mickaël/Flickr)