XTABENTÚN – Honey and Anise Liqueur
How to Drink Xtabentún
I confess I am not a coffee lover. So asked to try the Xtabentún straight.
The aroma of anise hit hard as the glass neared my nose. But hold it in your mouth for a moment, and the strong anise fades away. Soothing honey replaces it. Actually, the honey perfectly compliments the anise while leaving a not-too-sweet aftertaste. In my opinion, it is the best way to enjoy it and the way I still drink it to this day. To me, Xtabentún is perfect just the way it is.
Every person that has come to visit usually ends up taking a bottle home once they taste it. You can find Xtabentún in most supermarkets and liquor stores, and a one-litre bottle is around $200 pesos, or $10 USD.
Nixta Licor – Mexican Corn Liquor
This mouthwatering maize liqueur gets its name from the distilling process.
Made with 100% Cacahuazintle corn, this ancestral maíz is harvested during a very short season. It grows in the high valleys and foothills of the Nevado de Toluca volcano, a stratovolcano in central Mexico west of Mexico City.
While half the batch is kept in its raw tender state, the second half is roasted. They combine the two, and this mix is then macerated in the raw distillate. They are then added to the base madre, mother base or sour base. This important base is a blend of nixtamalized Cacahuazintle corn, water, and piloncillo, an unrefined cane sugar traditional to Mexico.
It is then fermentated in the ancient traditional cooking method called Nixtamalization.
What is Nixtamalixation?
After harvest from the rich volcanic soil, the Cacahuazintle maize kernels undergo nixtamalization, a 4,000-year-old Mesoamerican culinary process in which the corn is soaked and cooked in an alkaline solution (usually limewater). This makes it more pliable to unlock the full potential of the non-GMO sustainably-grown kernels.
The power of this ancient grain is shown when you break it down. Cacahuanintle maize contains higher starch and less fat content than common varieties which makes it perfect to produce a liqueur. The result is a liquid that forms a rich, creamy raw material. This infuses the spirit with hints of umami and sugar.
How to Drink Nixta
Nixta is very versatile. It’s refreshing and tastes great added to cocktails, a simple mixer like soda and lime ,or by itself over ice. I love it over ice. Plain and simple, delicious and refreshing, it always makes me smile. Why?
You may laugh but when I breathe out it tastes like corn chips. Yes I know that sounds silly, but the clean corn taste starts in the back of my throat and satisfies my tastebuds as I exhale. Don’t worry. I’m not the only one. Both my Mexican and American friends agree. Nixta is one of those drinks that pleases every palate.
The Nixta taste
When you sip Nixta, you will taste hints of roasted corn along with the sweetness of caramel and vanilla. The initial taste is slightly sweet, not overpowering. Both the corn and the piloncillo add to the sweetness and produce a very mild pleasant aftertaste. Then the pleasing roasted corn flavour hits. Subtle and satisfying, it is enhanced as you exhale, once again leaving that subtle sweetness to linger.
You can find Nixta for sale at La Europea liquor stores for $399 pesos, $20 USD.
Jamaica Vino Tinto
How do you make hibiscus wine?
I am a huge wine lover, so had to satisfy my curiosity. Very curious about the infused winemaking process, I asked how to make hibiscus wine first. The answer was a true artisan’s.
They create location-specific vinifications–fermenting grape juice into wine–from herbal flowers and fruits only grown in the highlands region of Chiapas. By using the specialised oenological techniques used to make red sparkling wine, two jamaica infused red wines were developed.
The younger wine, aged in oak barrels for six months, tickles your tongue as its fermentation is obvious. Its lightly clouded, bright raspberry colour is typical of a young wine. It has a lower alcohol content of seven percent. A charcuterie board or cheese platter best accompanies this wine. And, although the younger sparkling red wine has a stronger bubble, it only needs string to keep the cork in place, unlike a true sparkling wine or champagne.
The more mature wine, aged in medium white oak barrels for 12 months, is smoother. Its deeper robust red colour is more wine-like with a 10 percent alcohol content. A fun slight bubble when first sipped smoothes out to leave a slight ash aftertaste, which I found very pleasant.
Overall, the result was one that is uniquely Chiapas. It highlights the region’s commitment to local growers, organic farms and the quality of the products of the state of Chiapas, Mexico.
All of this results in a sweet red wine with personality and balance. Their goal of creating a wine sweet on the palate with woody notes is well and truly achieved, and if you enjoy sweet wine then this one will definitely tickle your tastebuds.
You can purchase this wine from Chiapas Artesanal Gourmet for $175 pesos, $8.50 USD.