There are those that if they did come to visit me in Mexico would want to see the Mexico I’ve already left behind. They would want to visit the great cities and the beautiful beaches favored by the international visitors. Great ruins like Chichen Itza. They would want to drink only the best and most expensive tequilas and would probably turn up their noses at such a cheap, pedestrian drink like charanda.

But not me. I all but stumbled onto this because I am one bargain hunting son-of-a-bitch, someone who gratefully left behind the vanity purchases of his salad years to emerge into adulthood as a more rational and fiscally clear thinking bastard.



Scouting through one of my local liquor stores a few weeks back and this good looking bottle caught my eye. I had never heard of this liquor before but if someone had the wherefore-all to put it into casks, age it and release an artesanal version of it then I most certainly had a 110 pesos (US $5.50) in my pocket to spend and risk a taste.

It turned out to be pretty tasty. I only read later online that charanda is a distillate of sugarcane which probably explains why it tastes a whole lot like rum.

It made me wonder what the unaged stuff tasted like so I picked up a bottle and liked it so much I bought a couple more. You’d think that any liquor that cost a mere 45 pesos (US $2.25) has to taste like a cross between cat piss and gasoline but oh, no. Sugarcane and a double distillation pretty much insures a pretty smooth and tasty end product.


PS – Over the course of my life, judging the value of life’s experiences has made me increasingly into one of popular culture’s greatest contrarians. If ninety-eight people pronounce something as good, I am going to flee in the opposite direction with that last other remaining someone.

Some idiot in France years ago tried to convince me that Coldplay was a great band because ‘everybody loves them’. I thought, ‘grow up’ and looked at him with an expression of both pity and contempt and said, ‘That’s why it’s called popular music. And anything by the very nature of being really popular can’t in turn be very good. Popular and good are generally mutually exclusive.’

I am intending on taking my next vacation (is that term even apropos here, to me?) trip to Armenia, Georgia, and the trans-Caucasus – all historical reasons aside – just because I know so many people who won’t be there.


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