Lifestyle & Parenting

Tequila Town

May 28, 2018

Mexico and tequila. Tequila and Mexico. The two words are practically synonymous. But to truly experience the process behind how tequila is made—not to mention, how to drink it properly (hint: sip, don’t shoot)—we suggest travelling to the drink’s birthplace in the state of Jalisco and making the gorgeous City of Guadalajara your home base. —Noa Nichol


stay. The Marriott’s AC Hotel Guadalajara is a convenient place to park your bags, boasting a downtown locale with easy access to more-interesting neighbourhoods. Mornings, take a dip and watch the sun rise from the rooftop pool (it opens at 4 a.m.), then head down to the lobby restaurant for a breakfast featuring the usual continental suspects alongside tasty Mexican dishes, fresh fruit juices and a star anise-infused cold-coffee concoction that’s muy delicioso.


stroll. For a dose of history, head to the city’s centre to see architecturally impressive landmarks like a neoclassical theatre and double-spired cathedral. Duck into city hall to view larger-than-life murals depicting Guadalajara’s not-always-peaceful existence. Stroll the pedestrian-only streets for souvenirs and snacks (and tequila-based piña coladas to go); be sure to check out the party shops wholly dedicated to piñatas and to stop to have your fortune told by a trained yellow canary along the way.


shop. Mercado Libertad, better known as Mercado San Juan de Dios, is the largest indoor market in Latin America, with nearly 3,000 vendors selling everything from embroidered frocks to leather shoes, handmade dolls, colourful crafts, bright candies, fresh produce and takeout food (try a traditional torta ahogadas—a typical Jalisco pork sandwich drowned in a delicious sauce). Oh, there’s a good selection of designer knockoffs here, too, and haggling is expected.


sip. Finally, the important part: the tequila. The state of Jalisco, in which, as mentioned, Guadalajara is situated, is home to 700 or so tequila brands, including gold-medal-award-winning and only-recently-available-in-Canada Casa Herradura. A short drive from the city, a side trip to see the company’s historic (and still working) distillery, in the quaint town of Amatitán, is well worth it. Take a fascinating guided tour to discover everything you didn’t know about the tequila-making process, including how traditional farmers, called jimadors, harvest the agave plant, and how the property’s plant life plays into the creation of the drink. Visit the old factory (gorgeous!) and purchase any of many varieties of Casa Herradura tequila at the gift shop. ¡Salud!


savour. Cow is king here, with steakhouses and other eateries that make meat their central focus all but dominating Guadalajara’s restaurant scene (Hueso, for one, is decked out top to bottom in animal bones). For something more casual (and less-obviously carnivore) sidle up to one of the city’s many street taco stands—so fresh and yummy, you won’t miss the lack of seating.


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