Community & Culture | Nov. 30, 2022

Snapshots from Mixología de México

Mixología de México is a celebration of Mexican bartending, bartenders, and ingredients. It’s a program that showcases traditions, techniques, and the flavorful, vibrant history of different states and regions in Mexico. Recently, the Academia Patrón team traveled through the Mexican states of Jalisco and Michoacán in search of iconic drinks from the delicious Vampiro and Cantaritos served near Lake Chapala, to more modern cocktails making a splash in Guadalajara.

Below, explore an overview of the drinks we discovered in our travels, some of which share a history with the events that formed México into the country we know today, and others that have peculiar backstories and tales to chase. Along the way, we captured cocktails presented by their original creators, by inventive bartenders, by direct descendents, and by enthusiasts, all eager to share the stories behind the drinks in their own words, honoring where they came from and what they represent today. 


A Paloma is topped with Squirt and stirred with a knife in the iconic La Capilla.

The Paloma is a cocktail with an origin story that’s hard to pin down. At its core, however, the Paloma is a classic grapefruit soda and tequila highball.

Like many of the classics, the easier it is to make a cocktail, more often than not, the more difficult it is to pin down its history. There are often romantic and well-told stories of how these simple and refreshing concoctions came to be, but sometimes the better a story sounds, the more difficult it is to verify.

Sweet, sour, a little bitter, a little salty, with cool ice, crisp bubbles, and silver tequila, the Paloma is a simply refreshing cocktail that’s as easy to enjoy as it is to make and is currently one of the most popular drinks in Mexico. And, in 2022, the Paloma jumped an impressive eight places to rank as the 14th top classic cocktail in the world.


Aaron (Owner, and grandson of founder and creator of the Batanga Don Javier Delgado Corono) looks on as Batangas are finished with Coke before being stirred with the knife used to cut fresh lime in La Capilla, the birthplace of the Batanga.

It’s rare to encounter a cocktail with an origin story jotted down on paper, and one that comes along with unanimous agreement.

The creator of this classic Mexican highball is a man named Don Javier Delgado Corona. He created the Batanga in his home town of Tequila, Jalisco.

The Batanga is his take on the Charro Negro, a classic highball of tequila, Mexican Coke, and lime juice.

The keys to Don Javier’s Batanga are a rim of high quality sea salt and, most importantly, only stirring the drink with the long wooden-handled knife he used to cut lime, onions, cilantro, and avocado. The knife imparts flavor, his secret to success. 


Haba Flores, host and bartender, laughs at the size difference of Cantaritos during a roadside stop outside Tequila at El Güero.

The Cantarito is a regional specialty from the State of Jalisco – a refreshing mix of tequila, citrus fruits, salt, chile, and grapefruit soda served in a cold clay pot.

A jarrito de barro” (clay cup) or cántaro” (pitcher) is a single serve red clay pot that gives the cocktail a unique, tell-tale appearance and also happens to be the drinks namesake.

The alkalinity of the clay neutralizes the bite of acid in the citrus, bringing the sweeter notes of the cocktail forward.


Haba Flores awaits a Tejuino outside a stand found within the town square of Tequila.

On the surface, the Tejuino is a simple mixture of fermented corn dough, sugar, lime, water, and salt, sometimes topped with a scoop of lemon sorbet or Tajín. But if you dig a little deeper, you’ll uncover the wealth of significance associated with this beverage, as its history can be traced almost a millennia before colonization. 

The drink was discovered when corn germinated with water was left to ferment – also known as nixtamalization – and was then consumed.

The name Tejuino comes from the Nahuatl word Tecuin that means the beating of the heart.’


The Chejuino, served with a Mexican lager to be topped as you drink. Inspired by the Tejuino served in the town square of Tequila.

One of the signature drinks at the popular modern cantina El Habañero Negro is Chejuino. It’s a combination of tejuino — a fermented beverage made from nixtamalized corn, lime, and salt — and Mexican beer. Nixtamalization is a process for the preparation of corn, where kernels are cooked and steeped in an alkaline solution (like limewater), then washed and hulled. El Habañero Negro’s Chejuino takes its inspiration from Pachecades, a spot in Tequila that is credited with the creation of the refreshing serve. 

While Pachecades was serving Chejuino first, El Habañero Negro has brought the drink to a mainstream audience, generating interest and appetite for pre-Hispanic flavors.


Head Bartender Jesús finishes a house made Tepache at Bruna Restaurante and Mixology Lab in Guadalajara.

Tepache is a pre-Columbian beverage made from fermented pineapple skins and pulp, water, cinnamon, and panela, a raw form of sugar. 

Tepache roughly translates to crushed corn drink” and comes from an amalgamation of the Nahuatl words Tepiātl” and Tepachoa.” Tepiātl translates to drink made from corn,” and Tepachoa means pressed or ground with a stone.”

It is believed the first iterations of Tepache were made by either the Nahua people of Central Mexico or the Mayans.

Each region in Mexico makes tepache in their own unique way, resulting in hundreds of different recipes. The wide variety of Tepache recipes that exist also mean that there’s no one specific Tepache flavor. This pineapple version is said to have grown out of Jalisco.


Roberto Núñez Moreno and Haba Flores await an order of fermented beverages outside a stall in the Tlaquepaque market.

For over 2000 years, Pulque has had a monumental and tumultuous history in Mexico. 

It’s a fermented beverage made from the sap or aguamiel” (honey water) of an agave plant. Pulque has ridden the waves of popularity and significance since the time of the ancient Mayans.

Initially, Pulque was only consumed as a sacred beverage and wasn’t permitted for regular consumption. It is said Pulque was strictly for the priests, the Gods, the pregnant, and the elderly.

With the fall of the Aztec Empire, it became a drink of the people and was produced widely around the Mexican Highlands; it became a major economic driver.

In the late 1800s, the Mexican government courted foreign investments — including those from breweries, which ended up pitting pulque against beer for drinkers’ pesos. Today, Pulque is starting to see a resurgence in popularity, especially in Mexico City and its surrounding states.


Roberto Núñez Moreno is handed a Vampiro cocktail during a stop at a roadside bar and restaurant in San Luis Soyátlan.

The Vampiro was allegedly created by Oscar Hernàndes in 1978 while working a shift at his fruit cart in the agricultural village of San Luis-Soyátlan.

It was born as a way to beat the heat at his cart, but customers kept inquiring about the red cocktail in a bag that he was enjoying. Because of the blood-red color, he named it The Vampiro.”

Vampiros are served in a plastic bag with an elastic band wrapped tightly around a straw at the top.


Roberto Núñez Moreno chats with the owner of the roadside bar and restaurant in San Luis Soyátlan about their house sangrita recipe, a staple in the creation of a Vampiro.

Sangrita hails out of Lake Chapala, Jalisco and dates back to the 1920s.

There are two different versions of the origin of Sangrita.

Credit has been given to Edmundo Sánchez Nuño, who took his parents’ recipe of sour orange juice, pomegranate, lime, salt, and dried red chili powder and paired it with a shot of blanco tequila in their family restaurant. In 1950, Edmundo started producing the Sangrita commercially, founding his now-prominent company for hot sauces and salsa, Productos Sane.

The other story credits an unknown restaurant in the same town with mixing the leftover juices of pico de gallo, a local fruit salad, and red chili into clay cups to be consumed with an after-dinner tequila.


A bartender in Cielito Lindo in Tlaquepaque creates a Michelada using their house lager.

Some believe this cocktail got its start way back during the 1910 revolution when El General” Don Agusto Michel would visit a local cantina in San Luis Potosi and order his beer with salt and lime juice. It’s said that the owner combined the General’s last name Michel” with chelada”, or cold one.”

Oilmen in Veracruz were known to drink a cocktail called the Petrolero, which is a Michelada with tequila instead of beer; some claim that’s where the origin lies.

It’s also plausible that the Michelada just became a catch-all for any beer cocktail with citrus, salt, and condiments.


The great grandson of Don Antonio Barocio finishes a Cazuelita in the birthplace of the cocktail, El Arroyo de Comala located in la Barca, Jalisco.

The Cazuelita is a shareable drink served in a clay pot called a cazuela.

It commonly contains wedges of lime, oranges, and grapefruits, tequila blanco, salt, and Squirt, a grapefruit soda. You can squeeze or eat the fruit in the cocktail to tailor it to your tastes.

It is claimed to have been created by Don Antonio Barocio in La Barca, Jalisco, and was served at his restaurant, El Arroyo de Comala.

It was said he made the drink for his friends at home in large pots he had around the house, and it was such a hit that he brought it to El Arroyo soon after.

The cazuela itself is made from red clay which honors the land it comes from. They are generally purchased from local artisans. It’s also said the clay of the vessel will soften citrus notes and provide the freshest taste possible.


Roberto Núñez Moreno stands in the balcony of La Casona de Chato overlooking the town square of Atotonilco el Alto with El Chato, the creator of the Chatazo.

Chatazo’ is a Mexican juice company that’s been operating in Atotonilco since 1984. They are known for creating a regional grapefruit drink that’s popular with locals.

Located just off the town plaza, the bar La Casona de Chato is legendary for their Chatazo, a refreshing grapefruit and tequila cocktail that combines tequila with the chatazo juice. The creator of the drink is a man called El Chato (pictured above) who pours Chatazos to this day. It is consumed in cantinas all around town in his honor.


A Limita sits on the bar at Fello’s in Atotonilco el Alto. A blended mix of tequila and lima. This and the Mandarina are often served alongside a seemingly endless amount of tacos.

The Mandarina, a blended mix of tequila and tangerines is strained over ice atop the bar at Fello’s in Atotonilco el Alto, the birthplace of this and the Limita cocktail.

The Limita is a unique tequila cocktail that’s revered at one of Atotonilco’s most famous bars, Fello’s. This drink is created by blending tequila and lima, a popular Mexican citrus that’s sweeter and less acidic than limes commonly found in the US. The flavor and aroma of the fruit itself is similar to fresh limeade.

The Mandarina is a variation of the Limita and is prepared the same way: fresh mandarinas (tangerines) are blended, strained, then mixed with tequila. These cocktails are incredibly simple and refreshing, making them perfect for sipping while gathered with friends in Fello’s.

Just as you can’t collapse the entire drinking history of México into one blog, we certainly couldn’t experience the entire story — and so many memorable components — in just one trip. Keep visiting us here and follow along with @academia_patron on Instagram as we continue to shine a light on the flavors, places, and people who keep the recipes flowing and the history just as rich and alive today as it was for generations prior. Salud!

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