The Gran Velas Riviera Maya Resort has long offered unique wines and tequilas from Mexico.
But the innovative resort is now offering a “Bebidass Ancestrales” or “Ancestral Sprits” tasting class at its Koi Bar to resort guests. The new drink tasting “transports guests around Mexico and back in time” as they taste and learn the history and making of four spirits: bacanora, sotol, tuxca, and pox, says Carlos Rudich, director of food and beverage for the AAA Five Diamond-rated resort in the Riviera Maya.
Prior to the new tasting experience, the resort did bring in various liquors, spirits and wines from around Mexico, but the resort had never included education or presented four unusual spirits together. The first such tasting was offered as part of the Best of Mexico’s Culinary Traditions event, held last October. That event showcases traditional Mexican flavors, and it also features a mescal and Mexican wine tasting. It was such a hit that after Christmas, the resort decided to offer it as a weekly class for resort guests.
“We want to showcase the flavors and culture of Mexico as part of the resort’s commitment to promote local and international gastronomy,” says Rudich. “There are no resorts in the market with our unique concept. We have other foodie experiences such as tastings of hot sauce, tacos, tequilas, mescals and even sake, but this is something new.”
The first spirit, bacanora, is a type of mescal, made from the juice of the agave head, which is roasted, fermented and distilled. It must come from 100 percent pure agave anguvstifolia that has been grown in the Sonoran Sierra region, and it is double distilled. It is transparent with aromas of agave and almond, with a soft clean finish. “It originates from 300 years ago,” Rudich says.
Stool finds its roots in the wild plants of a type of asparagus plants called dasylirion, which are all native to mexico. It has spear-like leaves, and can take15 or more years before they are matured enough to harvest. It’s made in the Durango region, and the leaves are first ground by hand, then fermented in plastic tubs for three days before being double distilled. It’s known for its pine and hazelnut aromas with an herbaceous taste.
Tuxca, the word, hails from the Nahuatl word Tascahuescomatl. It means “barn flooded, and” the name Tascahuescomatl was used to baptize a town that is now called Tuxcacuesco. To make tuxca, more than 20 different varieties of different agaves are used to make this ancient type of mescal, and since it is made near a volcanic region and fermented in volcanic stone, it has a bit of a volcanic and mineral taste to it.
Pox is an ancient Mayan drink, made from fermented sugarcane, brown sugar, wheat and fresh spring water, and they’re melded together in oak consenters until they are finished in the Chiapas region. It’s fresh and slightly oaky, with woodsy hints. The drink was first mentioned in documents in Barbados in 1650.
“The liquors can be enjoyed straight or child, and they can also be mixed into cocktails as well,” Rudich says.
While they aren’t common outside of Mexico, some specialty tequila shops in the United States sell them, Rudich says.