On a recent trip to Puerto Vallarta and the Mexican state of Jalisco, I discovered a new spirit. Certainly most visitors selecting a holiday in Puerto Vallarta know its proximity to Tequila (the town) or they learn quickly. Tequila can be found most everywhere and in most varieties and price points, but on my last adventure I discovered a new cactus cure; a new spirit made from a different agave – Raicilla.
What is Raicilla?
Raicilla doesn’t have the commercial production; the liquor, distilled from an agave cousin to the blue agave is grown locally, shared among friends and occasionally for sale in rural towns. You will not see bottles with labels, but usually reused empty bottles or even a plastic bottles (hey its recycling, right). But, make no mistake this “Mexican Moonshine” is worth a taste and is as strong as a tequila (or so I was told).
My First Taste of Raicilla
I sipped my first taste after a visit to the beach town Yelapa. After a hike to the famous waterfall, we took time for lunch at the beach. At the talapa the manager (or possibly owner of the restaurant) came to our table with bottle of Raicilla to taste. He asked, “Queieres a probrar Raicilla?”
Did I want to try Raicilla? Of course I did and after one sip, I was in love. I sensed a happiness I am not sure tequila, mezcal or sotol has shown in me in my many recent rounds with them. It was something special.
Well, maybe it was the cerveza on the beach at Yelapa that already set the mood, or perhaps the fact I was completely comfortable with my (staring) role in my video tour of Riviera Nayarit and Puerto Vallarta… or maybe not. Maybe it was that Raicilla just makes me happy.
Raicilla Otra Vez, Por Favor
I guess I’ll need to have another taste on my next visit to understand which one. Thankfully I am slated to be in Puerto Vallarta this June. I’ll toast to a little Mexican moonshine to that. Viva Raicilla!
Stay adventurous, Craig
On your next holiday to Puerto Vallarta, become friends with your bartender and eventually ask him about Raicilla. He’ll know where to find a taste, if not, you can definitely get a bottle in the tourist excursion town of San Sebastian del Oeste, which by the way is also worth a visit to see the cloud forest.