If you’re a fan of Mexican cuisine, chances are you’ve come across a classic Mexican drink that is both refreshing and full of flavor. But what exactly qualifies as a classic Mexican drink? From the vibrant colors of horchata, to the smoky and spicy notes of mezcal, these beverages are an integral part of Mexican culture and have been enjoyed for centuries. In this article, we’ll explore the fascinating world of classic Mexican drinks, their unique ingredients, and the traditions that surround them. So grab a glass and get ready to embark on a flavorful journey! A classic Mexican drink is a beverage that embodies the rich and vibrant culture of Mexico. From traditional alcoholic drinks like tequila, mezcal, and pulque, to refreshing non-alcoholic options like aguas frescas, horchata, jamaica, and tepache, there is something for everyone to enjoy. In this article, we will dive deep into each of these drinks, exploring their definitions, origins, different types, popular ways to drink them, and more. So grab a seat, imagine yourself under the warm Mexican sun, and get ready to explore the world of traditional Mexican drinks!


Tequila is perhaps the most famous Mexican alcoholic drink. Made from the blue agave plant, this distilled spirit is known for its unique flavor profile and smooth finish. Tequila has a rich history dating back centuries, originating in the city of Tequila in the state of Jalisco, Mexico.

Definition and Origin

Tequila is a type of mezcal, but what sets it apart is that it is made specifically from the blue agave plant. The plant is harvested and then the heart, or piña, is roasted and crushed to extract its juices, which are then fermented and distilled. Tequila is a protected designation of origin, meaning it can only be produced in certain regions of Mexico, including Jalisco, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas.

Types of Tequila

Tequila is divided into several types, each with its own characteristics and aging process. The two main types are blanco (also known as silver or plata) and reposado. Blanco tequila is unaged or aged for less than two months, while reposado tequila is aged between two months and one year in oak barrels. Other types include añejo (aged between one and three years), extra añejo (aged for more than three years), and joven or gold tequila, which is a blend of blanco and reposado tequila.

Popular Tequila-Based Drinks

Tequila is the star of many classic Mexican cocktails. One popular choice is the margarita, a refreshing concoction made with tequila, lime juice, and orange liqueur, often served in a salt-rimmed glass. Another crowd pleaser is the tequila sunrise, a vibrant drink consisting of tequila, orange juice, and grenadine. For those looking for a more fiery experience, the spicy jalapeño margarita is a fantastic choice. These are just a few examples of the endless possibilities that tequila offers when it comes to crafting delicious cocktails.


Mezcal, often referred to as the “smoky cousin” of tequila, is another traditional Mexican alcoholic drink that has gained popularity around the world. Like tequila, mezcal is made from the agave plant, but it can be produced using various types of agave, resulting in a wider range of flavors.

Definition and Origin

Mezcal has a long history in Mexico, with evidence of its production dating back thousands of years. The drink is believed to have originated in Oaxaca, a southern state known for its mezcal production. Its production process involves roasting the agave hearts, which are then crushed and fermented. Mezcal is known for its unique smoky flavor, which comes from underground pit ovens where the agave hearts are cooked.

Difference Between Mezcal and Tequila

Mezcal and tequila share similarities, but there are also distinct differences between the two. While tequila can only be made from the blue agave plant, mezcal can be made from several different varieties of agave. The production methods for both spirits also differ, with mezcal typically embracing traditional, artisanal processes. Additionally, mezcal often has a more pronounced smoky flavor compared to tequila.

Types of Mezcal

Mezcal is incredibly diverse, with a wide range of flavors and styles to explore. Different types of agave, regions, and production techniques all contribute to the varied profiles of mezcal. Some popular varieties include Espadín, Tobalá, and Tepeztate, each with its own unique characteristics. Each type of mezcal offers a distinct drinking experience, allowing enthusiasts to discover their personal favorites.

Popular Mezcal Drinks

Mezcal can be enjoyed neat, sipped slowly to fully appreciate its complex flavors. However, it is also a fantastic base for cocktails. One well-known mezcal cocktail is the smoky and spicy mezcal mule, a twist on the classic Moscow mule. This drink combines mezcal, ginger beer, lime juice, and a dash of chili powder. The mezcal negroni, mezcal old fashioned, and mezcal paloma are other popular options that showcase the versatility of this intriguing spirit.

What Is A Classic Mexican Drink?


Pulque is a traditional Mexican alcoholic drink that predates both tequila and mezcal. It has a long history and is deeply rooted in Mexican culture. Made from the fermented sap of the maguey or agave plant, pulque has a distinctive flavor and texture that sets it apart from other alcoholic beverages.

Definition and Origin

Pulque is believed to have originated in Mesoamerica more than 2000 years ago. It was consumed by indigenous civilizations such as the Aztecs and Mayans for its nutritional and ceremonial value. The production process involves harvesting the sap from the maguey plant, which is then fermented. Pulque is known for its slightly viscous texture and mild tangy taste.

Traditional Production Process

The production of pulque is a laborious and time-consuming process. The maguey plant is first selected and allowed to grow for several years before it is ripe for harvesting the sap. Once harvested, the sap is extracted and collected in large containers. The fermentation process can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on the desired level of fermentation. The result is a slightly carbonated, milky-colored drink with a unique flavor.

Popular Ways to Drink Pulque

Pulque can be enjoyed as is or mixed with various ingredients to create different flavor profiles. Traditionally, pulque is consumed straight from large clay vessels called “tinacales.” To enhance the taste, certain ingredients like fruit juices, honey, or spices can be added. Another popular way to enjoy pulque is to mix it with agua fresca or soda to create a refreshing cocktail-like drink. Pulque has a distinct taste that may require acquiring over time, but it is undoubtedly an authentic Mexican experience worth trying.

Aguas Frescas

Aguas frescas are a staple of Mexican cuisine, providing a refreshing alternative to alcoholic beverages. These non-alcoholic drinks are made by blending fruits, flowers, or grains with water and a touch of sweetener, creating vibrant and thirst-quenching concoctions.

Definition and Origin

The term “agua fresca” literally translates to “fresh water.” These drinks have been enjoyed in Mexico for centuries, with roots in pre-Hispanic times. Aguas frescas are known for their ability to cool down and refresh in the hot Mexican climate.

Varieties of Aguas Frescas

Aguas frescas come in a wide variety of flavors, each unique and delightful in its own way. Some popular options include horchata (a rice-based drink), jamaica (made from hibiscus flowers), tamarind, melon, pineapple, and cucumber-lime, to name just a few. Each flavor offers a different taste experience, making it easy to find an agua fresca that suits your preferences.

Popular Ingredients

The ingredients used in aguas frescas are simple and natural, emphasizing the freshness and flavor of the fruits, flowers, or grains used. Common ingredients include watermelon, cantaloupe, mango, strawberries, limes, lemons, and various tropical fruits. Fresh herbs like mint or basil can also be added to enhance the taste.

Traditional Preparation

The preparation of aguas frescas involves blending the main ingredient with water and sweetening it with sugar or another sweetener to taste. Some recipes call for straining the drink to remove any pulp, while others leave the pulp for added texture. Aguas frescas are typically served over ice and garnished with fresh fruit slices or herbs. These refreshing drinks are perfect to combat the heat and quench your thirst on a sunny day.

What Is A Classic Mexican Drink?


Horchata is a traditional Mexican drink that has become popular worldwide. This creamy and refreshing beverage has a distinctive flavor and is enjoyed by people of all ages.

Definition and Origin

Horchata is a rice-based drink that originated in Valencia, Spain, but it has been adopted and adapted in many Latin American countries, including Mexico. The Mexican version of horchata is typically made with rice, cinnamon, and sugar, although variations exist across different regions.

Ingredients and Preparation

Traditional Mexican horchata is made by soaking rice in water overnight. The soaked rice is then blended with cinnamon, sugar, and sometimes other ingredients like vanilla or almonds. The mixture is strained to remove any solids, resulting in a smooth and creamy drink. The horchata is typically served chilled over ice, with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon on top for added flavor.

Variations of Horchata

While the classic version of horchata is made with rice, variations of this beloved drink can be found throughout Mexico. Some regions use different grains like barley, while others incorporate nuts like almonds or seeds like sesame. Each variation brings its own unique twist to the drink, making horchata a versatile and exciting choice for beverage lovers.


Jamaica, pronounced “ha-MY-ka,” is a popular non-alcoholic Mexican drink that gets its name from the hibiscus flower used to make it. This vibrant, crimson-colored beverage is both visually stunning and refreshing, making it a favorite choice among locals and visitors alike.

Definition and Origin

Jamaica is made by steeping dried hibiscus flowers in water and adding sugar to taste. The name “jamaica” comes from the Spanish word for hibiscus, which is commonly referred to as “flor de jamaica” in Mexican culture. While its origins are unclear, hibiscus tea has been enjoyed in many cultures around the world for centuries.

Preparation and Serving

To make jamaica, dried hibiscus flowers are boiled in water until the liquid turns a vibrant red color. The mixture is then sweetened with sugar and sometimes flavored with a squeeze of lime juice. Once strained and cooled, jamaica is typically served cold over ice, making it an ideal drink for hot summer days.

Other Uses of Jamaica

While jamaica is most commonly enjoyed as a refreshing drink, its uses extend beyond solely being a beverage. The concentrated syrup made from boiled hibiscus flowers, known as “agua de jamaica,” can be used in various culinary applications. It can be added to desserts, used as a marinade for meat, or even incorporated into cocktails. The tart and tangy flavor of jamaica adds a unique twist to any dish it is used in.

What Is A Classic Mexican Drink?


Tepache is a traditional Mexican fermented drink that has been enjoyed for centuries. Made from pineapple, brown sugar, and spices, tepache has a tangy, slightly effervescent taste that sets it apart from other beverages.

Definition and Origin

Tepache is believed to have originated in pre-Hispanic times, with the fermentation process being introduced by indigenous cultures in Mexico. The word “tepache” is derived from the Nahuatl language, meaning “drink made from corn.” While corn was traditionally used, the modern version of tepache is made from pineapple.

Ingredients and Fermentation Process

To make tepache, pineapple rinds are combined with brown sugar, spices such as cinnamon and cloves, and water. The mixture is left to ferment for several days, allowing natural yeasts to convert the sugars into alcohol. This fermentation process gives tepache its unique flavor and slight carbonation.

Serving and Variations

Tepache is typically served cold and can be enjoyed on its own or mixed with other ingredients to create refreshing cocktails. Some variations use additional fruits like apples or guavas to enhance the flavor profile. Tepache also lends itself well to experimentation, with some people adding chili or other spices to create a spicy twist. Exploring the various ways to enjoy tepache is a fun and adventurous journey for any beverage enthusiast.


Traditional Mexican drinks offer a delightful array of flavors and experiences that reflect the country’s rich cultural heritage. From the world-famous tequila and mezcal to the refreshing aguas frescas, horchata, jamaica, and tepache, each drink tells a story and provides a unique taste of Mexico. Whether you’re sipping on a margarita, enjoying an icy glass of horchata, or indulging in the tangy-sweetness of jamaica, these classic Mexican drinks are sure to transport you to the sun-drenched streets of Mexico, where vibrant flavors and friendly faces await. Salud!

What Is A Classic Mexican Drink?


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