Mexico city is fast becoming the cocktail capital of Latin America. Forget the stereotype Mexican image of tacos, tequila, Mariachi and sombreros, the cocktail scene is booming!
I visited Mexico city during the last week of August 2017 to host several Bols training sessions as well as a seminar during the fast growing Barra Mexico, Latin America’s largest bar show. Barra Mexico is a two day event, which boasts no less than 150 exhibitors and 2 stages for seminars hosted by local and international presenters. The bar show attracts nearly 3000 visitors from the Latin American region during these two days.
For a selected group of Mexico’s top bartenders, we hosted an intimate event, focused on Bols Genever and its use in cocktails. The event took place at a Mexican bar with a Japanese twist: Kaito Izakaya, home to our Bols around the world south & central American finalist: Claudia Cabrera. During the masterclass, the history and production methods of Bols Genever were highlighted and the bartenders got the opportunity to taste the individual components of Bols Genever. The bartenders were then challenged to create their own perfect blend of Genever, which they used during the final challenge of the event: a Mexican cocktail competition. The level of the created cocktails was very high and showcased their own blend of Genever with a local twist.
The popularity of Bols Genever was also evident during the seminar at Barra Mexico: It’s not Gin, it’s Genever! With a simultaneous translation into Spanish, the seminar was attended by a good crowd of bartenders who discovered the difference between the two spirits as well as sampling of the Bols Genever signature cocktail: The Red Light Negroni.
At night, I got a real taste of Mexican cocktails during the many bar tours. We visited several high end cocktail bars, all with their own identity and concept and were hosted by numerous passionate bartenders. Some of my favourite places we have visited are: Fifty Mils at the Four Seasons hotel, Licoreria Limantour (nr. 13, World’s 50 best bars), Xaman, Hanky Panky and Baltra Bar.
Mexican culture seems to center around the good things in life; taking time to enjoy each other’s company, share some good food and cocktails with friends and family. Time is not really of the essence, ‘five Mexican minutes’ will probably mean you’ll wait for quite some time for whatever appointment to show up, but who cares when you have a delicious Mexican cocktail at hand while you wait!