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Five Cocktails with a Very Yucatecan Twist

14 july 2022
5 min. de lectura
Taking pride in their Maya roots, these Mérida establishments offer within their beverages menu some made with this proudly local Yucatecan elixir: the Xtabentún.


In addition to gorgeous destinations and natural scenery, we Yucatecans have plenty to brag about. For example, our history, culture, and gastronomy, which includes not only our world-famous dishes, but a wide variety of original drinks, conceived and developed right here.  


One of the state’s greatest pride is Xtabentún. This liqueur is made from bee honey made from a wildflower named Xtabentún, which means “herb that grows on stone.” Xtabentún is believed to have been mixed, for centuries, with Báalché, a beverage that Maya priests used to make contact with the gods.   


Nowadays, Xtabentún also includes anise and cane rum; hence its particular flavor, color, and aroma. Due to its sweetness, it used to be considered a digestive, served neat or on the rocks, but never combined. However, many bartenders from the region have used it as a base to prepare refreshing cocktails, many of them combined with other (mostly fruity) ingredients that enhance its personality.   


Today many restaurants and bars include drinks made with Xtabentún liquor. So, on your next night out, don’t hesitate to ask for some of the original creations with this elixir.   



You could say Dzalbay is almost tattooed to the city, as it has been in operation for more than 100 years. It used to be a Cantina; later it became what it is today: a jazz house.   


In addition to a unique bohemian atmosphere, music, and fun, Dzalbay stands out due to its beverage menu. It includes cocktails (all of them named after musicians and jazz artists), a neat selection of wines, and a variety of craft beers.   


On warm summer nights, nothing’s better than ordering a Charles Mingus, which Dzalbay itself describes as “a spiced and citric cocktail with a touch of anise.” It’s made with Tequila Reposado, lime, Chile Poblano and Habanero liqueur, and a dash of Xtabentún. “Surprisingly refreshing, the spice of the local Yatzil Habanero liqueur and the smokiness of the Tequila are balanced by the anise and the honey from the Xtabentún,” says Charly, the bar’s mixologist, who recommends pairing it with a Choripán sandwich or some Arrachera tacos.   

Calle 64 x 53 #443, Centro, Mérida, Yucatán
IG: @dzalbaycantina
FB: Dzalbay  



Cuna Cocina Honesta

Cuna Cocina Honesta (Honest Cuisine) is an excellent restaurant that boasts not only an exclusive menu by chef Maycoll Calderón, but a wonderful location surrounded by greenery. Its beverage menu is also well worth a look, as it includes mocktails, signature cocktails, and their famous Margarita popsicles.  


If you’re looking to try a Xtabentún cocktail, you can order the K’óopte’: a mix of young mezcal, lemon juice, and agave honey, topped with tonic water.   


“The liqueur speaks for itself, but the name [of the cocktail] comes from the flower that can be seen in the decoration: a ziricote flower, commonly found in Yucatán, Campeche, and Guatemala. In Maya, this flower is known as K’óopte,’” explains mixologist Eydrian Valdez.   


Av. Colón #508, García Ginerés, Mérida, Yucatán
Tel. 800 969 2926
IG: @cuna.merida  



Avec Amour

This bistro blends French and Mexican gastronomy, masterfully fusing flavors and ingredients. Their varied dishes, including duck, steak, and fish, among others, make it a marvelous option in the city.   


The star cocktail here, at Avec Amour, is made with Xtabentún liqueur mixed with gin and Sauvignon Blanc white wine, plus cucumber and basil. Bartender David Pech suggests pairing it with one of their fish-based mains, such as the seared salmon with butter, mussels, and asparagus. A signature dish, just like the cocktail.   


Calle 60 x 55 y 53, Centro, Mérida, Yucatán
IG: @avec_amour_merida_
FB: Avec Amour  



Restaurante Ya-axka

Ya-axka is a restaurant offering Mexican fusion food. As part of their concept, they use local ingredients and contemporary techniques to create experiences with an identity of their own.  


One of their cocktails with Xtabentún is El Maya, which combines this liqueur with Yaxkukul horchata and cinnamon. They recommend enjoying it on its own or paired with one of their traditional desserts.   


Carretera Mérida - Dzityá, Mérida, Yucatán
FB: Restaurante Ya-axka  



Cocktail - Coctel de Xtabentún - Anonima


Famous for its steaks, seafood, and burgers, Anónima also excels at beverages, which include classic and signature cocktails, beers, and a wide selection of Mexican wine labels.   


One of their original cocktails, Hach T’aanil, is inspired by a classic cocktail: The Last Word. “We wanted to reimagine this classic using Mexican drinks and include a local touch; that’s why we added Xtabentún,” bartender Damián Calatayud explains.  


This traveler-favorite drink includes, in addition to Xtabentún, Nixta - which is a corn liquor -, mezcal, and a touch of lime. It’s classified within the category of soft cocktails, due to its pleasant sweet taste with citrus notes, which becomes the perfect pairing to enjoy with, for example, their exquisite rosemary Panna Cotta.  


Av. José Díaz Bolio #66 x 10 y 12, Col. México, Mérida, Yucatán
IG: @anonimamid
FB: Anonima 

Juan Pablo González Negrete

Author: Juan Pablo González Negrete

Communicator by profession and marketing enthusiast. I was born in white Mérida and I love to enjoy the pleasures of life... A true bon vivant!

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