Raicilla: The Elusive Member of the Tequila Family

Just two short hours from Bahia de Banderas lays the magical town of San Sebastián del Oeste, in the cradle of Raicilla county, a hand-distilled spirit growing in popularity and gaining the attention of some of the most sophisticated palates in the world.

Like Tequila, Raicilla is a type of mezcal with a history that dates back to the seventeenth century, but differentiated by its unique use of the lechuguilla silvestre agave plant, commonly known as Maximiliana and native to the San Sebastián del Oeste region of the state of Jalisco as well as the coastal area of Cabo Corrientes.

The Maximiliana found in these two regions are both delicious, yet distinct. The ones grown in the mountainous interior are usually sweeter, due to the surprisingly more tropical environment.

There, in a less humid environment and growing in clay soil, the agave produces longer roots, reaching deep into the earth seeking nutrients, which produces more sugar and a higher quality of alcohol, with fruity and fresh tropical notes. Conversely, the Maximiliana from the coastal area has a simpler flavor profile, with a more mineral taste and a touch of salt.


The Taste of Raicilla

A strong spirit with a complex structure, Raicilla can be enjoyed neat, or paired with coffee, passion fruit, the region's tropical cuastecomate fruit, mandarin, orange, and other citrus fruits. Although it is a smooth, pure drink, Raicilla is strong and should be savored, inhaling through the nose as you swallow and exhaling through the mouth to fully appreciate the full flavor profile.

Did you know?

Historically, cuastecomate fruit has been used as a treatment for chronic cough and asthma. Mixed with Raicilla, it is said to further combat headaches and moodiness.

Types of Raicilla:

  • Blanco: unaged.
  • Joven: aged less than a year in oak barrels.
  • Resposado: aged from one to two years in oak barrels.
  • Añejo: aged for more than two years in oak barrels.

Only 100 000 liters per year of Raicilla are currently produced, and though  it has been enjoyed in Mexico for years as one of the country's most iconic spirits, it is now being discovered and appreciated by tastemakers and trendsetters around the world.

Be sure to sample this elusive and storied taste of Mexico while you're Bahia de Banderas.