…what you should know before you go out…
This morning I woke up in sheer confusion.
How did I end up playing volleyball at 4am…in a bar on 5th Avenue…half naked?
It must have been a good night because I woke up with the remains of three different takeaways in my pocket.
Right now all I can do is try piece together the Mexican drinks that led to this inebriation.
In some countries you get drunk because you want to get drunk.
And of course that happens in Mexico as well.
But in Mexico you end up completely wasted because the drinks taste so good, and you can’t help ordering more.
Mexico is famous for its unique drinks.
Beer, tequila, mescal, margaritas, cocktails…
Last night was a complete blur because absolutely everything just slipped down my throat.
So forget the excursions, suntanning, and general vacation stuff…when you come to Playa Del Carmen, the number one activity on your list has to be a grand tour of Mexican drinks.
Most days start with a beer.
I was going to write most mornings, but I don’t want you to get the wrong impression.
You’ve probably tried Mexican beer before.
One of their famous exports is Corona, the beer that’s becoming synonymous with drinking on a crazy hot afternoon.
Corona is the top selling imported beer in the US.
It’s the one that’s often served with a slice of lime in the top of the bottle.
Why? Some people say it’s to keep flies away.
I think it’s just a clever marketing ploy.
But Corona is just the start of your Mexican drinks tour.
Get on the beach, put on the sunscreen, and sip on its golden goodness.
Corona Is Not The Only Mexican Beer
Now let’s get serious.
How about another pale style lager like Modelo? Or a Modela Light if you don’t want to ruin that beach body.
But if the day demands drinking games and veracious consumption, then you can’t go far wrong with the pilsner like Estrella.
There are literally dozens of excellent beers on offer, and they’re very cheap.
So don’t be a wanker and order a Budweiser.
In the name of research I spent seven days trying out all of them.
I was a mess by the end of it.
But you can read all about the different Mexican beers here.
Beer might be the Mexican drink that gets you going, but as the sun begins to set there is nothing better than a cocktail.
In fact, little beats ordering a Mexican drink and getting one with a little umbrella in it.
You know you’re on vacation in Mexico when you’re gazing at the ocean downing a Margarita.
Everyone seems to order Margaritas when they visit a Mexican restaurant.
Not only does it get you wasted.
It cools you down on the outside and makes you feel warm on the inside.
But get to most Mexican bars and you’ll find a cocktail list that extends beyond two pages.
How about a Vampira to get you giddy.
Or a Santa Clara to give you enough confidence you want to dance on the bar.
Dulce de Tequila, Paloma Brava, La Bandera…you might not have heard of them yet, but by the time you leave Playa Del Carmen you’ll know everything about these cocktails.
Then there are the house cocktails.
Most restaurants come up with their own concoctions that are guaranteed to make you fall over and leave a massive tip.
Cocktails are the Mexican drink.
Forget what you’ve tried before.
If you want the best pizza, you go to Italy.
If you want Thai food, you go to Thailand.
If you want real sumptuous cocktails, you come to Mexico.
To get you excited about how drunk (and hungover) you’re going to be, try my research about each of the different Mexican cocktails.
The Quintessential Mexican Drink – Tequila!
Feeling drunk yet?
No of course not, you’re sitting at home reading this and not in a Mexican bar.
But if you were in Playa Del Carmen, then you’ll be finding out just how true the lyrics of that Terrorvision song are:
“Tequila…it makes me happy….Yes, I think there is only one thing in life that can make you happier than tequila…and that’s walking around in a poncho.”
Forget the glum whisky bars that Tom Waites sings about.
Every Mexican bar is full of smiling tequila faces.
Everyone has drunk tequila before.
Probably a Jose Cuervo, the most popular and sold brand across the world.
But in Mexico, tequila is a national obsession.
Different regions have their own recipes.
In fact, most villages and towns have their own form of tequila, with recipes secretly passed down over centuries.
When To Drink Tequila
Most people tend to order shots when the night starts, descending into dancing and debauchery.
Tequila can be enjoyed anytime.
This is one Mexican drink that can come out anytime.
Try a tequila at 11:AM and watch how funny the rest of the day becomes.
Meet a local and share a couple of tequilas and see how quickly the language barrier recedes.
Have it with lemon and salt…or just down it…or sip on it like a respectable gentleman.
Just DRINK IT!
Although if you want to do a kamikaze tequila, then save that for after midnight.
What’s a kamikaze tequila? Find out everything tequila related on my thoroughly researched tequila page.
The Mexican Drink You Might Not Have Heard About – Mescal
Russians have vodka.
Scots have whisky.
The English have stale bitters.
And Mexicans have tequila.
But unlike these other nations, Mexico is no one trick drinking pony.
When the locals get together, they have to choose between two different local spirits.
Tequila and mescal.
Mescal is similar to tequila.
It’s cheaper and more of a “locals” drink.
But it tastes just as good.
They didn’t write a song about it, but mescal also makes you feel happy.
Try it when you wake up in the morning.
That really gives your day a kickstart.
Don’t Stick To Imported Drinks
Mexican drinks are one of the greatest things about Mexico.
So why do I see so many idiotic losers ordering Budweiser?
Why do some bars in Playa Del Carmen sell Heineken?
Why do people drink Heineken in Mexico?
Mexican drinks are better than drinks anywhere else in the rest of the world.
So when you get here, make sure you experiment and drink local.
Not only does it taste better, but there is more choice.
Mexican drinks are also much cheaper than anything that’s been imported.
Think about it…they created their drinks specifically for hot weather, lounging around, and enjoying the taste.
I really recommend trying out all the different possibilities.
Don’t just stick to the brands you already know.
Corona and Jose Cuervo are available everywhere in the world.
But the best Mexican drinks can only be found in Mexico.
What About Non-Alcoholic Mexican Drinks?
I realize that all this is making me sound like I’m a raving alcoholic.
So I’ll include this rather small offering about Mexican drinks that don’t get you drunk.
Why not try some coconut water while in Mexico.
According to some yoga practicing female friends of mine, it’s full of antioxidants that are great for the body.
That might be so…but coconut water isn’t going to cure the harm that my weekly mescal consumption does.
You can also find a strange drink called Horchata.
It’s a beverage made from ground almonds, rice, or seeds.
That makes it sound disgusting. Which I think it is.
Let’s move onto something a little nicer on the tongue – Sangrita.
No not sangria, that cheap mix of red wine and fruit that has turned the whole of Spain into alcoholics.
I mean Sangrita, a spicy citrus drink that is served with tequila.
It can include various combinations of oranges, lime, pomegranate, tomato juice.
But it always includes a healthy dash of jalapeño.
This is one saucy drink that makes your mouth burn if you get it from a really local bar.
Anything Else About Mexican Drinks
As I write this more of last night is coming back to me.
It started with tequila…at 2pm while admiring a particularly enthusiastic game of beach volleyball.
So remember, tequila makes you happy.
But it also makes you lose your memory.
Then it involved some margaritas, a bottle of mescal by the ferry port, and a ravenous two hours enjoying 2-for-1 cocktails on 5th Avenue.
Last night was complete random drunkenness.
But Playa Del Carmen always gives you choice about how you want to feel.
Perhaps you want the slow pass out before midnight drunkenness provided by beer and good company.
Or the dancing on the bar feeling on top of the world drunkenness of tequila.
Or the lose the inhibitions and chat to every single girl in the bar drunkenness of innumerable cocktails.
And if you wake up and can’t remember anything, don’t worry, nobody else can either!
Lots of love,
It’s your turn. Do you have any suggestions, ideas, or tips about Mexican drinks? Please leave them in the comments section below!
do you know where to get fresh cut coconuts to drink their coconut water in Playa Del Carmen please? We lived in central america and we could find them almost everywhere on the trucks or at some stands on every corner where they took a machete and opened one for us to drink. It cost around 0,50 USD per piece. We love it. Any advice is very apreciated. Thanks.
They sell coconuts at Walmart. You can simply take a screwdriver and hammer, punch a few holes and pour the liquid out yourself.
I’ve done it before, but each coconut only seems to provide about 8 ounces of liquid. I think they were more like $1 USD each here, too.
If, for some reason, you cannot find them at Walmart, try DAC. They have all kinds of exotic foods, spices, and supplies that you cannot find anywhere else in town. Just type in “DAC Playa Del Carmen” or simply click on the link below:
Search for DAC on Google
As a final option, you could always climb a palm tree and pull a few down yourself. However, I don’t think the police here would like you much. And the last thing I need is an email from you at 2 in the morning saying, “Rufus, I took your advice about climbing the tree, but I didn’t make it to the top, and now I’m in the hospital with a broken earbone.” Ughhh!
Hope this helps….
Hey Rufus – love the site, very helpful. What’s your take on these recent headlines of tainted alcohol in the area? We’re travelling there in a few weeks and are wondering how concerned we ought to be.
First off, thanks so much for the comment. Heck, if I was traveling to this area and had heard about bad alcohol being served, it is probably one of the first things that would keep me from coming!!!
Yes, there has been some cases of “tainted” alcohol being served to guests at some of the resorts in Mexico. I’m not sure exactly what defines “tainted,” but it’s essentially fake alcohol (to save the resort money), or alcoholic drinks that have been drugged in order to make a guest(s) blackout.
In fact, there was a young woman who died after she passed out in a pool and drowned. There have also been a number of other reports and complaints about this sort of thing happening.
In my opinion, these incidences are quite isolated. Before I would cancel my travel plans to this area, I would not get too worked up about it. This is for several reasons:
1. I have known and received emails, comments, and phone calls from hundreds and hundreds of people who have stayed at resorts here. Not one of them has ever complained about bad alcohol. That DOES NOT mean that it doesn’t exist here, but I don’t think that it’s the status quo or even remotely common here.
2. After the news broke about the young lady who died, the Mexican tourist authorities swept through some of the largest resorts looking for alcohol violations. Lo and behold, they found some bootlegged liquor – likely being used in place of more expensive, bottled alcohol. Even though I don’t trust Mexican authorities, I do believe in their desire to stamp out major problems that could cause tourism numbers to decrease. This was one of those incidents. Consequently, I do believe the problem has been taken care of. You can see an article here that explains what happened:
Because the incidents are isolated, and because the Mexican tourist authorities raided several hotels/resorts in the area, I think your chances of being served “tainted” alcohol are probably less now than they have been for a long time. This does not mean that “tainted” alcohol will never be served again in Mexico, just that something is being done about it, and I think it is a one-in-a-million chance that it would happen to you in the first place.
Despite this, I was appalled to hear about it and very angry. What made me most upset is the way that the Mexican hospitals treat foreigners in their most desperate times of need. If you’ve read other pages of this website, you know that I come down pretty damn hard on Mexico and Mexican people. (Believe me, they deserve it.) But I think the hospitals here are some of the most deserving of this hate because of the exorbitant prices they make tourists pay and their adamant refusal to treat patients without payment FIRST. Stunningly bizarre. Mexican people go on about “Mexican hospitality,” but they really show their true colors when it comes to emergencies. This is an area that Mexico needs to make major improvements in. But I’m not Mexican, so I can’t change this country; it’s hard for me to do much. Mexico’s policies toward tourists are nauseating. It’s like, “I love you. Get away from me.”
With the amount of taxes that tourists pay to the Mexican government each year, tourist hospital visits should be COMPLETELY FREE. The hospitals here wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for those taxes–neither would tens of thousands of jobs (where even more money is collected via taxation). Moreover, the resorts should have some sort of “Guaranteed Hospital Coverage” included with their all-inclusive packages. I think it could be used as a marketing gimmick to increase sales AND make visitors safer at the same time.
But if I was in charge, there would probably be drinking contests every night at my resort, and that would probably kill more people per year than “tainted” alcohol!!! Oh sh*t! Come to think of it, I would probably be trying to make homemade beer in the kitchen!!!
The bottom line is this:
1. Don’t worry too much about tainted alcohol while visiting the Riviera Maya.
2. The authorities are taking care of it.
3. It would be very unlikely to have an encounter with “tainted” alcohol BEFORE these incidents made headlines.
4. It is even more unlikely that you will have an encounter with “tainted” alcohol AFTER these incidents because all the resorts/hotels are feeling the pressure from the recently published reports that have highlighted the problem that was minuscule in the first place.
After all, if you’re really concerned, just stick to beer, wine, or other bottles that you can DEMAND be opened in front of you!!!
Hope this helps, Mikus!!!
See you here soon….
Hey! Can we find Pulque in Playa del Carmen?
I have never seen that here before. According to the little bit of research that I did, the drink is most common in central Mexico, so that could be the reason why.
However, I did live in the center part of Mexico (Zacatecas), but I didn’t see it there either. This could have been for several reasons–the most likely reason being that I wasn’t looking for it. I’m not sure.
In any case, if you find it here during your trip, I would love to hear about it. Heck, I would even like to taste it!
Good luck in your quest for pulque!!!
Lots of love,