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Jimmy Irvine’s Top 5 Mexican Cocktails

During his travels across El Gran México representing Australia at the Bacardi Legacy Global Final, bartender James Irvine was lucky enough to try the country’s best tipples from some of its top bars. Here, he runs us through his favourites.

Words by James Irvine

PALOMA & BATANGA – These drinks get roped in together as they were invented by the same bartender in the same bar – Don Javier Delgado Corona, owner and bartender of La Capilla in Tequila Town. These simplistic drinks are recognised as the roots of Mexican cocktail culture. I recently enjoyed a Paloma on the hillside of an agave field at Cazadores.

HUEVO Y TEQUILA – This serve is a fun cross breed of ingredients –  advocaat and tequila or agavecaat. It drink is a tropical soufflé of flavours and texture. The agavecaat, ginger and citrus sherbet bring it to life with a fresh acid balance. This was a collaboration cocktail served at El Gallo Altanero in Guadalajara.

MEZCAL NEGRONI – Being a stickler for agave spirits and aperitivo, this combination took me to my happy place. The bright, candied smoke of the mezcal is perfectly balanced with the well-known harmony of Campari and sweet vermouth. An easy go-to variation for bartenders around the world. Enjoyed at Pujol, Mexico City.

MICHELADA –This drink originated from the small town of San Luis Potosí, Mexico during the 1960’s. A chap by the name Michel, requested his beer be served with salt, lime and ice, as if his beer was a ‘limonada’. Other punters in the club began requesting their beers be served the same way as Michel’s limonada, hence the Michelada was born. Through different interpretations, we now have the modern-day ‘bartender’s breakfast’ of an agave spirit, my personal choice being mezcal, spiced tomato juice, a hint of citrus, a lick of salt and a crisp ‘cerveza’ or beer. Enjoyed at the BACARDÍ Legacy closing pool party.

ANT MAN – This hangover cure/pre-meal imbibe is a more contemporary drink from hillside Paloma. This vegetal libation brings native ingredients to the forefront, as a mix of mezcal, avocado, farmed raised ants, hoja (a bitter Mexican herb) and lemongrass. The avocado gave an incredible mouthfeel, while the other ingredients played well in the background. This was from the globally renowned bar team at Fifty Mils, Mexico City.

James was lucky enough to experience the wonders of Mexico thanks to the Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition. For information on how to enter next year’s competition, head to the Bacardi Legacy website.