How to Prepare the Best Mexican Cocktails Direct from the Riviera Maya

There’s a certain romance about Mexican cocktails. Imagine yourself lying on a white sand beach, having come from a dip in the Caribbean ocean. And now you have a luxurious Mexican cocktail at your side! Want to know the very best Mexican cocktails to order? Or perhaps you want to make some at home yourself. Then read on. As well as describing the best Mexican cocktails, you’ll find recipes, and videos on how to make the best margarita de Jalapeño and a Michelada. And you can enter to win free cocktails at one of the best beachfront restaurants and bars in the Riviera Maya.

The Best Mexican Cocktails

While there are lots of Mexican cocktails, we’ve selected the very best. All fabulous, thirst-quenching drinks, perfect for that hot day on the beach. Included you’ll find

  • The Icon of Mexican cocktails – the Classic Margarita
  • Lol-Ha’s Famous Margarita de Jalapeño
  • Mexican Cocktails Perfect for the Beach - Tropical Fruit Margaritas
  • Mexico’s Favorite Cocktail - The Paloma
  • The Rising Star of Mexican Cocktails – The Mezcalita
  • The Working Man’s Mexican Cocktail – The Michelada
  • Refreshing Sangria - Mexican Style

History of Popular Mexican Cocktails

The Margarita is an iconic Mexican cocktail. But, it's not the most popular cocktail in Mexico! There are many more mouth-watering cocktails. Including those described below.

The Mexican Margarita Story

There’s no denying that a Margarita is the perfect thirst-quencher on a hot day. With its fruity, sweet flavor, and a subtle kick of citric acidity. Known for its distinctive glass, salted rim, and now many flavors and texture variations. But who invented the Margarita?

There are many stories about the history of the margarita and how it came into being. The first known publication of a true margarita recipe was in December 1953 in the magazine Esquire. Yet, in 1948 Santos Cruz is said to have made the cocktail at the Balinese Room in Galveston Texas, for the singer Peggy (Margaret) Lee. Cruz supposedly named the cocktail after the Spanish version of her name, Margarita.

While that story is nostalgic, in 1945 Jose Cuervo was already running ads for margaritas. The ads used the slogan “Margarita: It’s more than a girl's name.” According to Jose Cuervo, this Mexican cocktail was invented by a bartender in honor of a showgirl, Rita de la Rosa.

However, there are also claims that the first Margarita was mixed in Juárez, Chihuahua by Francisco "Pancho" Morales July 4, 1942. Many experts say Morales has the strongest claim to having invented the Margarita. But the story doesn’t stop there. In 1937 the Café Royal Cocktail Book contained a recipe that used the same ingredients and concentrations as a Margarita. But the cocktail was called a Picador.

Akumal Distilling Company

One of the ways to make the best Mexican cocktails is to use great ingredients. And that includes the liquor used in the cocktail. Non come better than from the Akumal Distilling Company which was founded by Bart Smith, Gary Kelleher, and Dave Bliss in 2015. Located in the Mayan Jungle they produce artisanal rum, and vodka using their secret ingredient. The pure and ancient water from a natural cenote.

El Matancero is a Caribbean Silver Rum. Named after the Spanish merchant ship that crashed into the coral reef near Akumal in 1741. Cannons salvaged from the vessel are iconic images in Akumal looking out over the ocean.

Special Piloncillo sugar from Chiapas gives El Matancero a light sweetness with hints of banana and vanilla. It's wonderful in a Mojito.

Their Cueva Vodka is an award-winning artisanal vodka produced in small batches. It is a cane-based vodka and is great in fruit infusions. For example in the local Akumal Mule. Soon a corn-based vodka called Alux that will be coming out. It’s great as a martini or just on the rocks.

If you want to try either the Cueva Vodka or El Matancero but don’t make it to the distillery go to the Turtle Bay Café bar in Akumal.

Lastly, there is an account from 1936 of Iowa newspaper editor, James Graham, finding just such a cocktail in Tijuana. Cocktail historian David Wondrich however, believes that the margarita is the same as the popular drink called Daisy. During prohibition, the brandy used in a Daisy was replaced by tequila. Margarita is Spanish for daisy.

So which story do you believe???

2 Cannons in Akumal, from the El Matancero Shipwreck

Paloma – A Mexican Cocktail in the Shadow of the Margarita

Most people outside of Mexico when asked about Mexican cocktails think of the Margarita. But hiding in the Margarita's shadow is a treasured drink in Mexico, called the Paloma. Actually, in Mexico, the Paloma is a more popular Mexican cocktail than the Margarita.

Traditionally, the Paloma is served on the rocks. And prepared by mixing tequila, fresh lime juice, and grapefruit-flavored soda. Paloma means “dove” in Spanish, and is perhaps reminiscent of a pink dove! Yet, while this is a very popular Mexican cocktail, its history is obscure.

Some people claim that the Paloma was first created by Don Javier Delgado Corona, in Jalisco. As he created another soda and tequila-based Mexican cocktail, the Batanga, there is merit to the claim.

Sweet, sour, a little bitter, and salty, it’s got all four taste groups, plus ice, bubbles, and alcohol; what’s not to like?

Michelada - The Working Mexicans Cocktail

The Michelada has gone from a simple street-side drink to a decorative Mexican cocktail bar drink. In Mexico City, Micheladas come with anything you can think of! And they’re sold everywhere, from stands in the street and at the market to upscale cocktail bars

The Michelada is a bracing blend of spices, umami-loaded, with an acidic lime pop and tomato juice mixed with Mexican lager. It is a traditional Mexican cocktail and a humble delicacy.

But what does Michelada mean? In Mexico, a common slang term for cerveza is chela. Mi chela helada means my frosty - or frozen - beer. Often served up over a boatload of ice, a michelada is just that. A frosty-cold beer, refreshing and savory. Perfect for a hot Mexican day.

The history of the origins of the Michelada is shrouded in mystery. But one story begins in 1910 among the initial turmoil of the Mexican Revolution.

Legend has it that “El General” Don Augusto Michel would frequent a local cantina in San Luis Potosi with his war-weary soldiers. To lift their spirits after a long day of combat, Michel would order a beer with lime and add hot sauce. Supposedly, the unnamed owner of the cantina named the spicy concoction after Michel, combining “Michel” and chelada, or “cold one.”

Mexican Cocktail Recipes

Lol-Ha Restaurant and Snack Bar is a perfect place to relax. Especially with a refreshing cocktail. After a visit to the beach, there’s no better place to enjoy a Mexican cocktail. With the powder white sand between your toes, and a spectacular view of the Caribbean ocean.

Lol-Ha, located in Akumal Bay, has an extensive menu of Mexican cocktails. Below are 7 Mexican cocktail recipes, all served daily at Lol-Ha.

Palapa bar at Lol-Ha

View from the restaurant at Lol-Ha

The Icon of Mexican Cocktails – The Classic Margarita

This is the most iconic of Mexican cocktail recipes. The Classic Margarita is synonymous around the world with Mexico.

Ingredients for 2 Classic Margaritas

  • 1 lime wedge + 2 lime wheels for garnish
  • 1 Tbsp coarse salt to rim the glass
  • 4 oz. high-quality Tequila
  • 2 oz. Cointreau
  • 1.5 oz. fresh lime juice
  • Ice
  • Optional: 0.5 oz. agave nectar or simple syrup, to slightly sweeten the taste

Classic Margarita Mexican Drink Recipe

1. Run the lime wedge around the outer rims of the glasses. Dip the rims in the salt, turning so that each rim is evenly coated.

2. Add into a cocktail shaker, tequila, Cointreau, and the lime juice. Optional: Add the agave nectar or syrup if desired.

3. Fill with ice and shake for 15 seconds. Strain the cocktail into the 2 glasses. Garnish with lime wheels and serve.

Lol-Ha’s Famous Margarita de Jalapeño

This Mexican cocktail recipe is a spicy twist on the classic margarita.

Ingredients for 2 Jalapeño Margaritas

  • Lemon wedge
  • 2 Jalapeños for garnish
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder to rim the glass
  • 4 oz. high-quality Tequila
  • 2 oz. Cointreau
  • 1.5 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • Ice
  • 0.5 oz. agave nectar or simple syrup

Jalapeño Margarita Mexican Drink Recipe

1. Run the lemon wedge around the outer rims of the glasses. Dip the rims in the chili powder, turning so that each rim is evenly coated.

2. Add into a cocktail shaker, tequila, Cointreau, agave nectar, and lemon juice.

3. Fill with ice and shake for 15 seconds. Strain the cocktail into the 2 glasses. Garnish with jalapeños and serve.

Mexican Cocktails Perfect for the Beach - Tropical Fruit Margaritas

Take the Mexican cocktail recipes for the classic margarita and substitute your favorite fruit. For example, a popular and very refreshing Mexican cocktail at Lol-Ha’s is the Coconut Margarita. Simply add in coconut juice and replace the lime garnish with chunks of fresh coconut and you have a new take on a classic Mexican cocktail.

Mexico’s Favorite Cocktail - The Paloma

This, contrary to popular belief, is the favorite of Mexican cocktail recipes. Tequila and lime juice is a classic pairing. But, most cocktail connoisseurs agree that grapefruit and tequila is the perfect match.

Ingredients

  • 1 lemon wedge + 1 lemon wheel for garnish
  • 1 Tbsp coarse salt to rim the glass
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 oz. high-quality Tequila
  • Grapefruit soda
  • 0.5 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • Ice

Paloma Mexican Drink Recipe

1. Run the lemon wedge around the outer rims of the glasses. Dip the rims in the salt, turning so that each rim is evenly coated.

2. Fill the glasses with ice. Then add grapefruit soda to ~1/3 of the way up the glasses. Once the bubbles have settled, add tequila, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Top with any remaining grapefruit soda.

3. Stir gently and garnish with a lemon wheel and serve.

The Rising Star of Mexican Cocktails – The Mezcalita

A Mezcalita is a version of a Margarita but instead of Tequila, it is replaced with Mezcal. While both Tequila and Mezcal come from agave plants, they are each made from different agave plants. And the process to make Mezcal is different from that for making Tequila. Tequila is often produced by steaming the agave inside industrial ovens. Then it is distilled two or three times in copper pots. Mezcal, however, is distilled in clay pots. This gives Mezcal its distinctive smokiness.

Ingredients for 2 Mezcalitas

  • 1 lime wedge + 2 lime wheels for garnish
  • Chili powder to rim the glass
  • 4 oz. high-quality Mezcal
  • 2 oz. Cointreau
  • 1.5 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • Ice
  • 0.5 oz. agave nectar or simple syrup

Mezcalita Mexican Drink Recipe

1. Run the lime wedge around the outer rims of the glasses. Dip the rims in the salt, turning so that each rim is evenly coated.

2. Add lemon juice, Worcester sauce, hot sauce, and clamato/tomato or salsa juice

3. Fill with ice and shake for 15 seconds. Strain the cocktail into the 2 glasses. Garnish with lime wheels and serve.

The Working Man’s Mexican Cocktail Recipe – The Michelada

The Michelada comes in a variety of flavors but this Lol-Ha special is sure to quench your thirst!

Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz lime juice
  • 1 lime wedge
  • Chili powder and salt (for the rim)
  • Worcestershire sauce, 1tsp
  • Hot sauce, 1 tsp
  • Clamato or Tomato juice, or salsa juice, 0.5 oz (1Tbsp)
  • Ice
  • Lager style Mexican beer, 12 oz.
  • Pinch of salt

Michelada Mexican Drink Recipe

1. Run the lime wedge around the outer rim of the beer glass. Dip the rim of the glass in a mixture of salt and chili powder, turning so the rim is evenly coated.

2. Mostly fill the glass with ice. Add lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, and the Clamato/Tomato/Salsa juice.

3. Fill with beer and add a pinch of salt to the top.

Refreshing Sangria - Mexican Style

Although not a traditional Mexican cocktail recipe, Sangria is a popular cocktail with many visitors from Europe. Great for the heat, and refreshing, this one has a Mexican twist.

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle red wine
  • Selection of fruit (plums, peaches, pineapple, orange), cut into chunks
  • 1 – 2 lemons, sliced
  • 2 oz. Tequila
  • 1-2 Tbsp sugar
  • Club soda (1 cup)

Sangria Mexican Drink Recipe

1. Combine the fruit, wine, sugar, and tequila in a large pitcher. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours at least.

2. Add ice to a glass, and pour in the sangria and add the club soda.

The Best Mexican Cocktails Direct from the Riviera Maya

Now when you are lying on the white sand beach and the waiter comes along you know the best Mexican cocktails to try. Not only that but while you are waiting to visit Mexico next, you can taste them at home. And bring a little flavor of the Riviera Maya to you in the meantime. Oh, and don’t forget to enter to win 3 free Mexican cocktails each, for you and a guest, from Lol-Ha Restaurant and Snack Bar. Perfect for your next visit to the Riviera Maya.

Other related posts that you might be interested in

Mexican Food

Secrets of the 10 Best Mayan Riviera Restaurants Near Akumal

Best Beaches in the Riviera Maya

Riviera Maya Excursions

Accommodation in the Riviera Maya

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Exploring The Riviera Maya is Ocean Breeze Akumal's Blog. Here we explore the diversity of Mexico's best tourism destination to highlight the best beaches, cenotes, restaurants, attractions, Mayan ruins, etc., etc. We provide information to help you explore this spectacular part of the world and give you tips and tricks that only the locals know. Helping to give you the vacation experience of a lifetime.

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