Mexico is known for its vibrant food and drink culture. When it comes to beverages, Mexico has several iconic drinks that are popular across the country. Determining the most popular drink in Mexico requires looking at consumption trends, cultural significance, and worldwide recognition.
Quick Answer: Tequila is the Most Iconic and Popular Mexican Drink Worldwide
If we had to choose just one drink to represent Mexico, it would surely be tequila. Tequila has become synonymous with Mexican culture and cuisine. This distilled spirit made from the blue agave plant is globally recognized as Mexico’s national drink.
According to statistics, Mexico consumes more tequila than any other country at over 110 million liters per year. Tequila also accounts for the majority of Mexico’s spirits export value at well over $1 billion annually.
The tequila market has seen tremendous growth in recent decades as its popularity has surged globally. Premium tequila brands are experiencing the fastest growth as tequila sheds its reputation as just a party drink.
When people think of iconic Mexican drinks, tequila is typically the first beverage that comes to mind. Its cultural significance and global demand solidify tequila as Mexico’s most popular alcoholic drink.
Other Notable and Popular Mexican Drinks
While tequila stands out as the most consumed Mexican liquor, there are other popular beverages that are deeply ingrained in Mexican culture:
Beer is widely enjoyed in Mexico with a rich tradition dating back to the late 1800s. Today, Mexico is the world’s largest importer of beer and one of the leading beer producers globally. The three most popular Mexican beer brands are Corona, Modelo, and Victoria.
Corona is the leading beer exported from Mexico and one of the top-selling beers worldwide. Corona’s recognizable clear bottle and lime garnish make it instantly identifiable as a Mexican beer.
Modelo Especial and Victoria are the domestic beer brands of choice. Modelo Especial leads in terms of market share within Mexico. Victoria also has a devoted local following, especially in the state of Guadalajara where it is produced.
Mexico has a thriving soda industry that produces beloved traditional sodas. Coca-Cola and Pepsi also dominate the soft drink market, but brands like Jarritos, Sidral Mundet, and Sangria enjoy loyal followings.
Jarritos offers fun fruit-flavored sodas like mandarin, tamarind, and guava. The sodas typically come in bright, colorful bottles and are moderately carbonated.
Sidral Mundet apple soda has been around since the early 1900s and is a staple at Mexican restaurants. It’s especially refreshing served chilled with ice on hot days.
Sangria soda features a blend of carbonated water, fruit juice, and spices. Most variations contain apple, orange, lime, cinnamon, and other robust flavors.
Aguas frescas are naturally flavored waters made from fresh fruit, vegetables, flowers, grains, and seeds. Some combinations include horchata (rice milk), tamarindo (tamarind), and jamaica (hibiscus).
Street vendors commonly sell these refreshing fruit drinks from large barrels. They provide a tasty non-alcoholic option with natural sweetness. Aguas frescas are especially popular in hot regions to rehydrate and cool off.
Mexican Coffee Drinks
Coffee culture is also alive and well in Mexico. Cafe de olla is a beloved Mexican coffee prepared with cinnamon and raw cane sugar. The coffee combines rich, bold espresso with warm spices for a uniquely Mexican coffee experience.
Sweetened coffee drinks are also enjoyed nationwide. Cafecito refers to strong espresso shots sweetened with cane sugar. Cafe con leche is steamed milk mixed with coffee, similar to a latte.
The Michelada is a popular Mexican cerveza preparada, or beer cocktail. It’s made by blending lime juice, salt, chili sauce, and other savory ingredients into a beer. The blend of sour, spicy, and refreshing makes Micheladas a go-to drink with Mexican food.
There are many variations, such as the Cubana which incorporates Worcestershire sauce and the Chelada with just lime and salt. A shot of Clamato or tomato juice is also commonly added for a nutrition boost.
Ranking the Most Popular Alcoholic Drinks in Mexico
Based on consumption statistics, cultural significance, and export numbers, here is a ranking of the most popular alcoholic beverage types in Mexico:
- Tequila – Mexico’s iconic spirit and top export
- Beer – The #1 most consumed alcoholic drink in Mexico by volume
- Brandy – Mexico is the world’s largest brandy consumer after the United States
- Rum – Typically consumed in cocktail form; white/silver rum is most popular
- Wine – Consumption has risen sharply in recent decades but still behind other alcoholic drinks
Tequila leads the pack as Mexico’s most prized alcoholic beverage. While beer is the day-to-day alcoholic drink of choice for many Mexicans, tequila commands the most respect as the country’s best-known liquor globally.
Ranking the Most Popular Non-Alcoholic Drinks in Mexico
Here is a ranking of Mexico’s favorite non-alcoholic beverages based on consumption data:
- Bottled water – Surpassed carbonated soft drinks as Mexico’s most consumed beverage
- Carbonated soft drinks – Coca-cola and Pepsi are widely consumed, but local brands also popular
- Fruit juice – Orange juice, apple juice, and blended juices are widely available
- Coffee – Strong coffee served black or sweetened with cane sugar
- Aguas frescas – Fresh fruit waters like horchata and tamarindo
- Milk – Dairy intake has risen substantially over the past decades
Plain water now edges out soda for the top spot, as public health campaigns emphasize the importance of hydration, particularly in Mexico’s hot climate. Still, sodas maintain a strong foothold in the Mexican drinks market, with Coca-Cola enjoying status as a cultural icon.
Drink Trends: How Mexican Drinks Preferences Are Changing
Beverage consumption patterns in Mexico have shifted in recent decades, mirroring worldwide trends:
- Declining soda consumption – As health consciousness rises, soda intake has fallen. Mexico implemented a soda tax in 2014, further contributing to decreased demand.
- Rise of bottled water -Bottled water sales have more than tripled over the past two decades, making it Mexico’s most consumed beverage today.
- Alcohol moderation – Overall alcohol consumption has declined, especially beer. However, sales of premium alcoholic drinks like fine tequila are increasing.
- Coffee culture influence- Specialty coffee shops are growing in popularity in Mexico’s major cities, particularly with younger generations.
- Quality over quantity – Ingredient quality, unique flavors and drink customization are growing beverage trends.
While traditional drinks like tequila and cold beers remain staples of Mexican drinks culture, new health trends and global influences are shifting preferences. The result is a more diverse and specialized beverage landscape.
Where to Find the Most Popular Drinks in Mexico
Here are some of the best places in Mexico to sample famous local drinks:
- Tequila, Jalisco – Visit the tequila-producing region and distilleries like Jose Cuervo and Sauza
- Tequila bars – Try specialty tequila bars in cities like Mexico City, Guadalajara, Oaxaca
- Nice restaurants – Upscale Mexican restaurants offer tequila tastings and pairing menus
- Bars and cantinas – No shortage of hole-in-the-wall watering holes and lively cantinas in Mexico
- Beer gardens – Popular open-air spaces like Plaza Garibaldi in Mexico City
- Fútbol stadiums – Soccer games are a prime spot for drinking beers with crowds of fans
Sodas and Aguas Frescas
- Taquerias – Nearly all taquerias and taco stands serve Mexican sodas and fresh waters
- Street markets – Vendors sell an array of aguas frescas from barrels at markets
- Fruit stands – Buy fresh-squeezed juices from produce markets and fruit carts
- Taquerias and cantinas – Cervecerias will mix up Michelada combinations to order
- Street carts – Mobile Michelada stands are popular, especially on hot days
- Sporting events – Micheladas are commonly sold at stadiums and arenas
Most Popular Traditional Mexican Drinks Recipes
Making classic Mexican drinks at home is easy with these simple recipes:
- 1 cup white rice
- 2 3/4 cups water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 cup condensed milk
- Ground cinnamon, for garnish
- Combine rice and 2 1/4 cups water in a pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes until rice is soft.
- Remove from heat and add cinnamon stick. Allow to steep for 15 minutes, then remove cinnamon stick.
- Transfer rice mixture to a blender. Add 1/2 cup fresh water and blend until smooth. Pour through a sieve into pitcher.
- Add lime juice, condensed milk, and remaining water. Refrigerate until chilled.
- Serve over ice and garnish with cinnamon.
Jamaica Agua Fresca
- 1 cup dried hibiscus flowers
- 4 cups water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 lime, juiced
- Lime slices, for garnish
- Bring 4 cups water to a boil, then remove from heat. Add hibiscus flowers and stir to submerge. Allow to steep 15 minutes.
- Strain through a fine mesh sieve into pitcher. Discard solids.
- Stir in sugar and lime juice until dissolved. Refrigerate until chilled.
- Serve jamaica over ice and garnish with lime slices.
Cafe de Olla
- 2 cups strong brewed coffee
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 1/2 ounces piloncillo or brown sugar
- Whipped cream (optional)
- Brew coffee using your preferred method. Allow to cool slightly.
- Add cinnamon sticks and piloncillo/brown sugar to pot of coffee. Heat over low, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves.
- Remove from heat and pour coffee through a sieve into mugs.
- Top with whipped cream if desired. Enjoy!
Where to Find the Best Mexican Drinks in Major Cities
From tequila tours to craft breweries, Mexico’s major destinations offer diverse drink options and experiences:
- Cantinas – Historic cantinas like La Opera and Salón España for drinks in authentic venues
- Mezcal bars – Modern mezcal tasting bars and mezcalerias growing in popularity
- Coffee shops – Specialty cafes serving quality Mexican coffee drinks
- Pulque bars – Pulque is an ancient fermented drink enjoying a revival in Mexico City
- Tequila tours – Day trips to tequila distilleries from Guadalajara, Mexico’s second largest city
- Mercado San Juan de Dios – Massive traditional market with juice stands and vendors selling aguas frescas
- Andares nightlife – Upscale bars and nightclubs featuring extensive tequila menus
- Mezcal tastings – Oaxaca is the heart of Mexican mezcal production
- Chocolate and coffee – Oaxaca excels at both, look for artisanal chocolaterias and cafes
- Tlacolulas market – Large Sunday market with incredible regional food, mezcal, and handcrafted drinks
- Happy hours – Beach bars with sunset happy hours are perfect for beers, margaritas and micheladas
- Fiestas – Events like the San José del Cabo Beer Fest and La Ruta del Tequila showcase Mexican drinks
- Luxury resorts – World-class hotels feature swim-up bars and restaurants with extensive Mexican spirits
- Tequila is universally recognized as Mexico’s national drink and top spirits export
- Beer is the most popular alcoholic drink by volume with major brands like Corona, Victoria, and Modelo
- Sodas, fruit drinks, coffee, and aguas frescas are daily non-alcoholic favorites
- Drink trends show a rise in premium products like fine tequilas along with health consciousness
- Mexican drinks are readily available nationwide, from street markets to upscale establishments
Mexico’s drinks culture is ancient, diverse, and evolving. From traditional tequila and mezcal to artisanal coffee and modern craft beer, the country offers incredible variety of flavors for any taste.