Mexican drinks go way beyond cocktails, beers, and liquors. There are many traditional beverages that you can enjoy throughout the year whether it’s hot, cold, or just right. They vary from region to region like almost everything in Mexico, and can be easily made at home. Here are some of the most popular of the traditional Mexican drinks:
A thick drink of corn and cacao, popular in southern Mexico, particularly in the states of Tabasco and Chiapas. It has pre-Hispanic roots and is thought to have been favored by traveling indigenous communities for its sustenance and nutritional value. In Tabasco you can find other varieties such as pozol with sweet potato, white pozol (corn), and agrio (fermented). It is made by putting corn through the nixtamalization process, then grinding the corn and cacao beans and mixing them with water. It is served over ice in traditional jícaras (gourd bowl) and sugar can be added to it if desired.
Aguas Frescas are the perfect combination of fresh fruit, sugar, and water – the ultimate summer drink. However, some variations can include chia seeds, hibiscus, and cereals such as rice or barley. Some of the most common varieties are agua de melón (canteloupe), jamaica (hibiscus), tamarindo (tamarind), horchata (rice), and sandía (watermelon). You can find these light, refreshing beverages all over Mexico. Just serve over ice and enjoy!
Café de Olla
Café de Olla can be enjoyed all year long. It is a traditional way of preparing coffee that requires the use of a clay pot, which imparts the coffee with a distinct flavor. The coffee is spiced with cinnamon and sweetened with piloncillo, and in some states it’s not uncommon to see clove and orange peel added to it. For many people, the aroma of café de olla brings back memories of early mornings, and grandma at the stove. You can make café de olla at home, even without a clay pot, it is a delicious way of drinking your everyday coffee.
A thick, cool chocolate beverage, typical drink of the state of Chiapas, made from toasted nixtamalized corn, cacao beans, piloncillo, achiote, pine nuts, cinnamon, and vanilla. To make it, the ingredients are ground to make a powder then combined with milk or water. The addition of achiote gives it a reddish color. To make an easy version of this at home you can toast corn tortillas and grind them with cacao beans in place of the nixtamalized corn.
A warm, corn thickened, drink flavored with fresh fruit. It is very popular in the cold months, but is served for breakfast all year. Atole is made by diluting corn masa with water, and adding fruits or nuts. In some states you can also find atole made with rice, oatmeal or cornstarch. Some of the most delicious flavors of atole are strawberry, guava, almond, and blackberry. In Mexico atole and tamales are almost inseparable.
This hot spiced punch is traditionally served during the holidays, but it is often enjoyed in the fall as well. It makes a heartwarming drink at all family gatherings. Ponche was brought over to Mexico by the Europeans, and the recipe was quickly adapted to include the local fruits and spices available at the time. The most used combination of fruits and spices include, cinnamon, guava, tejocotes, tamarind, raisins, oranges, sugar cane, piloncillo, prunes, pears, and raisins.
Champurrado is a pre-Columbian drink made with ground cacao beans, water, piloncillo, and thickened with ground corn masa – making for a delicious drink on cold winter mornings. It was drank by the Aztecs and the Mayans and is still drank today for breakfast in the cold winter months, during el Día de los Muertos, and Christmas. It is the best version of hot chocolate and basically a chocolate atole!