Mexico is well-known for its tasty food, fascinating history, and lively culture. Among its many draws, traditional drinks provide a window into the nation’s regional delicacies. Traditional Mexican drinks range from the smokiness of mezcal to the tanginess of agua de jamaica. Here, we explore some of the Mexican towns where you can savor the country’s best-loved drinks. Each of these offers a taste of local tradition and heritage.

Oaxaca – Mezcal Capital of Mexico

Oaxaca de Juárez, México Old Town
Photo Credit: Jhovani Morales

Situated in the scenic valleys of southern Mexico, Oaxaca is a paradise for mezcal aficionados. Mezcal, a distilled spirit made from the agave plant, is deeply rooted in Oaxacan culture and tradition. Throughout this state, you can find artisanal mezcal distilleries. Guests can learn about the process of making mezcal and try different flavors, such as smokey and flowery.

One of Oaxaca’s most renowned mezcal towns is Santiago Matatlán, known as the “World Capital of Mezcal.” Here, visitors can tour family-owned palenques (mezcal distilleries). They can also witness the ancient techniques of mezcal production and indulge in tastings of the spirit straight from the source. The town’s mezcalerías (mezcal bars) provide the perfect setting to sip mezcal cocktails or enjoy a traditional copita (small glass) of this iconic drink.

Tequila – Birthplace of Mexico’s Signature Spirit

Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico
Photo Credit: Taylor Beach

Visiting Tequila, the birthplace of Mexico’s most renowned spirit, is an essential part of any tour of Mexican cocktails. Located in the western state of Jalisco, Tequila is where the iconic beverage is produced and celebrated. Along the town’s ancient cobblestone alleyways, you’ll find distilleries called “tequileras.” These are responsible for harvesting, fermenting, and distilling the blue agave plant into the silky, amber-colored tequila.

Enjoy guided tours of renowned distilleries such as Jose Cuervo, gaining insight into tequila-making. Also, sample an array of premium varieties, from Blanco to añejo. The town’s vibrant cantinas and bars offer the perfect opportunity to taste tequila in its purest form or mixed into classic cocktails like margaritas and palomas.

Michoacán – Home of Aguas Frescas and Atole

Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, Mexico
Photo Credit: Matt Hanns Schroeter

Look no further than the charming towns of Michoacán state for a taste of Mexico’s refreshing non-alcoholic beverages. Known for its abundant fruit orchards and vibrant markets, Michoacán is the perfect destination to sample traditional aguas frescas, or “fresh waters.” These refreshing drinks blend fresh fruits, flowers, or grains with water and sweetened with sugar, resulting in various flavorful concoctions.

In the town of Pátzcuaro, visitors explore markets and sample aguas frescas made from local fruits such as guava, mango, and pineapple. For a heartier beverage, Michoacán is also famous for its atole, a warm and comforting drink made from masa (corn dough), water, or milk and flavored with ingredients such as cinnamon, vanilla, or chocolate. In the picturesque town of Tzintzuntzan, visitors can savor a steaming cup of atole alongside traditional sweet bread, known as pan dulce, for a truly authentic taste of Michoacán.

San Cristóbal de las Casas – Gateway to Chiapas’ Coffee Culture

San Cristobal de las Casas, Chis., Mexico
Photo Credit: Guido HN

In the southern state of Chiapas, the colonial town of San Cristóbal de las Casas welcomes travelers with its arts scene and rich indigenous heritage. But it’s also a destination for coffee lovers, offering a glimpse into Mexico’s thriving coffee culture. Chiapas is renowned for producing some of the finest Arabica coffee beans in the world, thanks to its rich volcanic soil and ideal climate.

In San Cristóbal, visitors can explore local coffee plantations and learn about the coffee-making process, from bean to cup. Coffee shops and cafes throughout towns like Tuxtla Gutiérrez serve freshly brewed cups of Chiapas’ finest brews. This experience allows visitors to savor Mexican coffee’s rich flavors and aromas while immersing themselves in the town’s bohemian atmosphere.