An insider’s guide to Mexico’s craft cocktail revolution
Viva la revolution — the cocktail revolution!
“Culturally, Mexicans don’t drink cocktails. That trend only started a few years ago,” says award-winning mixologist Georgina Barbachano of Hanky Panky, which regularly ranks in the top 20 bars in America. “We drink pure liquor, or just some simple drinks like a paloma, batanga and charro negro. But now the cocktail culture is growing.”
Here’s the lowdown on Mexico’s best cocktail counters.
Named for its location in Mexico City’s historic La Casa de Las Brujas – The House of the Witches – apartment complex – this entirely female-led cocktail bar mixes concoctions rooted in Mexican herbal medicine.
“The girls make you feel at home,” said Barbachano. “It’s an intimate experience; small, cosy.”
Specialty: Verónica (Mezcal Creyente Espadín, oleo saccharum, lemon, lavender syrup and rice milk).
This one-year-old, sleek, multi-story indoor-outdoor bar is located in Mexico City’s artsy Roma Norte.
Specialty: Mazapán Old Fashioned (fat-washed Mexican whiskey, fat-washed Glenlivet Founders, Amaro Averna, Drambuie, bitters).
Located in the hip neighborhood of La Juarez, Mexico City’s first speakeasy bar, Hanky Panky, is named after a cocktail made at London’s Savoy Hotel. “Before I worked here, I always came in because the drinks are great,” said Barbachano. “Love the speakeasy vibe.”
Specialty: Casa Batlló (Tequila Curado, Mezcal Macurichos Tepeztate, caprese liqueur).
Among the resort scene, Itzam’s bar stands out for its water cocktails with chickpeas (a popular vegan substitute for egg whites) developed by Jeff Bell, owner of the New York City speakeasy Please Don’t Tell. Being part of the chic Etéreo, Auberge Resorts Collection, Riviera Maya can’t hurt either.
Specialty: Piña Negra (Mezcal, rosemary syrup, lime juice, activated charcoal, chickpea water, roasted pineapple).