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Aug 18, 2006 05:24 AM

Raicilla, a mezcal variation. What's it like?

I understand this is a Mexican spirit made from the roots of the mezcal plant. I have no idea what it tastes like, nor if it's available outside of the Puerto Vallarta area or the state of Jalisco for that matter.

Can anyone tell me more? A friend of mine who's made annual visits to Puerto Vallarta for over 20 years told me about it. Apparently it's an illicit hooch made by the indigenous locals, but the federales turn a blind eye to it. I don't expect to see it bottled & sold in the US, but would like to know if it's worth the uh, adventure to hunt down some underground booze with my limited grasp of Spanish.

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  1. Wow! A liquor I've never heard of! I've got to find out about this too. Sounds pretty awful. I'm planning a trip to Oaxaca next year and will definitely ask around.

    1. Here's a legal distributor who produces a boutique raicilla ... "Las Raicillas del Real".

      I can't tell you how it tastes, but according to this site after a sip or two you won't remember anyway.

      1. I have a bottle at home (don't tell the ATF) and I find it to be an interesting variation on a tequila reposada.

        It's actually made from a wild Agave plant grown in the mountains above Puerto Vallarta. Due to the way the plant reproduces it cannot be cultivated but I guess it's such an integral part of the local culture that the policia allow it to be sold in the local markets.

        I'm sure if my bags had been searched by Customs, that bottle would never have made it to my liquor cabinet.

        1. When we went to Jalisco last year, you could find it in just about any bodega. I felt the need to try it, so we bought a whole bottle (it only came in large and larger size, but what the hey, we're four dedicated drinkers and we're here for a while, we can do it, right?), and we ended up leaving most of it behind (yeah yeah alcohol abuse, I know). I found it to be crazy harsh and couldn't really drink more than a taste at a time. We tried to use it in mixed drinks, but the harshness is really difficult to mask. The woman at the bodega really did try to discourage us from getting it, and of course we probably should have listened to her.

          1. Just came back from the mountains above PV, and brought home a bottle. Must find in Los Angeles. An amazing drink. I found no sloppiness (shared a bottle with a friend over the course of an afternoon/evening) and a mild sort of spacey mescal kind of buzz. And no hangover. Must figure out a good mixer but until then drink in the special glasses that are sort of bulby at the bottom - not sure why, but that seems to cut the harshness -