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

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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 -

            1. My wife and I went to the botanical gardens near Mismaloya, Jalisco, Mexico and asked if we could have raicilla with our meal. They brought us the most fabulous clear spirit. It was so wonderful that they sold us a bottle. They took me to a wooden barrel, opened it up, and with a laddel filled an empty liquor bottle for us. It cost us 200 pesos. We feel it was worth 3 or 4 times that.

              When we got back to our hotel in puerto vallarta, we talked of our experience. The desk clerk said yes! He said; " My mother is on the board of directors of EL TUITO which oversees the production of a legal raicilla called EL TUITO. It brought us a bottle of 4 year old reposada raicilla. It was the best drink we ever had. He then offered us a drink called PUNTA. Punta it the first liter that comes of the distillation process. It is smooth and creamy. I think it has more alkaloids. Regardless, here is what we learned...

              1) It is now our favorite drink
              2) It never causes a headache.
              3) It never causes a hangover.
              4) It makes you warm - sometimes we sweat when others are cold.
              4,5) We loved everything about raicilla especially the mellow feeling it gave us.
              5) It makes you feel good. And not in a dopey drunk way either.

              The folks on at EL TUITO says that it is an aphrodisiac and should not be abused. Use above 5 to 10 shots can cause diahrea. We experienced diahrea but we are unsure if it was the Raicilla. We had since had it in the US and am proud to say we had no diahrea and my wife gave me the most wonderful smiles.

              Raicilla is not a by product of any other tequila related process. It is made from a green agave which is completely different from the blue agave. From what we can tell, it is made from agave lechugea.

              Rudy, at the botanical gardens said that the agave is roasted in rock lined pits for at least 24 hours, the pits are covered with thatch. The same thatch the the beach umbrellas are made of. After the roasting, the pinas are crushed and squished. The liquid is then fermented with the yeast found naturally in the plant.

              Some of the pulp is made into what is called agave nectar. It is readily available anywhere. The very best margaritas are made with a spoonful of agave nectar. Agave nectar is 30% sweeter than sugar and has a friendlier glycemic index!

              We have never enjoyed a drink as much as we enjoyed raicilla.

              1. I forgot to add that you can tell if it is not mixed with water by shaking it in the bottle. 38% alcohol or greater you get lots of little bubbles and a row of bubbles that hug the bottle for a few seconds. Cut raicilla won't give you the bubbles. I want to tell you this because it is sold throughout Puerto Vallarta and some folks aren't very credible.

                1. Had some at the Botanical gardens as well, and was really impressed. but didn't think to try to buy some from them. instead, spent the next morning walking aroud Pv trying to find some and found 1 place that sold Raicilla de Real from Tuito. They had 1 bottle of the aged(min2 years) and I bought a bottle. Its very good. i prefer it to almost all Reposada tequilas I've had and most Anejos. The alcohol level is higher as well, and to me the taste is "cleaner" than tequila.