Mexico City is a drinker’s paradise
Those delightful siblings, tequila and mezcal, are rightly a point of Mexican national pride. But you’ll find further worlds of beverages to discover. Curious minds would do well to visit the Museo del Objeto del Objeto (“Museum of the Object of the Object” -- the redundancy is intentional), which is currently showing an actually worthwhile exhibition on ancient Mexican drinks.
One example: pulque. Too unstable to export, it has to be enjoyed near its source. This low ABV, agave-based drink is usually sold on tap in multiple flavor options. At Pulqueria Insurgentes, if you’re anything like me, you might be taken aback at the snot-like viscosity of your first glass of cucumber-celery pulque. But by glass number two, the house variety mixed with tequila, you start to get it.
And then there’s the laundry list of denomination of origin spirits (i.e., the “Champagnes” of Mexico.) To name-check a few: Raicilla, Bacanora, Sotol. They’re similar to mezcal in that they’re distilled from agave, but the particulars demand they be made from one or sometimes two specific varieties, and be grown in certain Mexican states. The fact that they’re rarely exported and difficult to find stateside was like a loud, boozy siren song that lured me straight to the source. Well close enough, at least -- a good start is at La Nacional, whose encyclopedic spirits menu might make a few promises its bar can’t keep, but you’ll most definitely stumble out the door a more experienced drinker.