Los Cabos Guide to Good Eating
by Judy Chaikin and Danielle Chaikin
BEER, WINE, & LIQUOR SHOPPING GUIDE
When you're in Los Cabos, you'll probably find yourself wanting a cold beverage or two to quench your thirst and get you into the spirit of things. You won't have trouble finding a bar in Los Cabos, but you may not be sure what to order. Here's what you'll need to know about local beverages and where to buy alcohol to take back to your room, to take on a day trip, or to bring back home with you.
Enjoy yourself, but regardless of what country you are in: Please do not drink and drive!
There's nothing quite like a cold beer in the heat of Mexico. If you're in for some serious beer buying, don't stop at the mercados or even the little bodegas. Beer is sold wholesale at numerous outlets all along the Corridor. Buy it by the case and return the bottles on your next run and you'll end up paying about 35-50 cents per bottle. Just look for the big signs out in front of large white buildings that say CORONA or TECATE. Corona stores also sell their other brands: Pacifico and Modelo. Tecate stores sell Sol, Dos XX, Bohemia and Indio.
There's a Corona outlet on the main highway just before you enter Cabo San Lucas and the others are located in and around San Jose. You can also buy soda wholesale from similar outlets (Mexican Coca-Cola is still made with real sugar and is a real treat). Just keep your eyes peeled.
Finding good wines used to be a problem in Los Cabos. We used to settle for a pretty decent Chilean Red, but had a hard time finding a good white. Now we have a wide selection of many respectable choices. EUROPEA, a gourmet Wine and Deli shop recently opened on the highway just outside of Cabo San Lucas. Here you'll find wines and liquors from around the world as well as specialties like prosciutto and Parmesano Reggiano. If you know your wines you'll see that some of the prices are very reasonable and others are slightly overpriced. But this is certainly a step up from when we could only buy Mexican or South American wines.
Just to give you an insight as to how quixotic things are in Los Cabos, last Christmas we found our favorite Italian sparkling wine, Pro Seco, on a shelf in the Aramburo in San Jose. This wine is so difficult to find in Los Angeles that we have to drive to a specialty wine shop twenty miles from our home to buy it, and we have carried it in to Mexico a bottle at a time. Not only did we find it in the supermarket, the price was very reasonable. Needless to say, we bought quite a few bottles because who knows if we'll ever see it there again.
Of course, Tequila is the mainstay of the Mexican drinking diet. The cost of Tequila in supermarkets is usually cheaper than in the liquor stores. There are three grades of tequila. The lowest grade includes many cheap Blanco (''white'') or Plata (''silver'') tequilas, and the popular Oro (''gold'') tequilas. This is what you will get in most mixed drinks unless you specifically ask for a brand name. The second grade is known as Reposado, which means ''rested''. These tequilas are aged from two months to up to a year in oak casks or barrels, with darker tequila indicating longer aging and flavor more affected by the wood. This is the most popular type of tequila in Mexico. Reposados have rich and complex flavors, are smooth, and taste good either straight or mixed. And they won't give you that awful hangover you get from the cheap stuff, especially some of the rot gut they give away for free at the lower-end bars and restaurants. Two brands of Reposado that you can't go wrong with are Don Julio and Tres Generaciones, but there are many others. The most expensive grade of tequila is known as Anejo, which means ''aged'' or ''vintage''. These tequilas are aged in small, sealed barrels for a minimum of a year -- some as long as ten years. Anejos can be very dark due to the influence of the wood. Take the time to find out what the better brands of Tequila are by testing shots at your favorite bar. (Now that's not a difficult assignment, eh?)
The most popular drink made with tequila is the Margarita. You can get all sorts of fruit flavored margaritas that are blended like smoothies and are sweet and refreshing. But if you want an authentic margarita and actually want to taste the tequila in your drink, order one on the rocks (NOT blended). Ask your bartender to suggest a brand of tequila or let them make you their specialty. No doubt, you'll find yourself pleasantly surprised (and buzzed as well!)
Another popular beverage is Kahlua -- coffee flavored liqueur that is produced in Mexico. Kahlua is very sweet and makes a good after-dinner drink. It is often mixed with cream or milk.
BRINGING IT BACK
U.S. Customs Regulations allow you to bring one liter (33.8 fl. oz.) of alcoholic beverages back into the U.S. duty free, provided that: you are 21 years old; it is for your own use or as a gift; and it does not violate the laws of the state in which you arrive. You can bring more than one liter alcoholic beverage for personal use, but you will have to pay duty and Internal Revenue Service tax.
See the rest of the Los Cabos Shopping Guide:
Los Cabos Grocery Shopping Guide
Los Cabos Gift Shopping Guide
Nuts & Bolts: Hardware Shopping Guide
Gringo's Guide to Chili Peppers and Salsas
See Los Cabos Information for activities, nature, links and events.
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