When the afternoon heat starts to hit Veracruz, Mexico, locals know to escape to certain favorite spots for cool refreshments that spotlight fresh flavors with a twist. To curate the perfect Veracruz cocktail crawl, we turned to Paco Romero, mixologist at Branché in Boca Del Rio near Hotel Indigo Veracruz Boca del Rio. Follow his lead for the best tipples in town — happy hour awaits.
Sweet or Bold at Branché, Blvd. Ruiz Cortines #3324
Romero likes to create drinks by request that are inspired by a patron’s favorite ingredients, a tradition he started in his early days at Branché when asked to fulfill a request for a sweet but unconventional drink. Romero combined a slice of pineapple with strawberry, adding in Bombay Sapphire gin and a touch of lime soda, among other ingredients. The fizzy, sweet and refreshing flavor of Cocktail Branché has earned it a permanent spot on the menu. “It is now the bar’s main cocktail,” Romero says.
For those who prefer bolder spirits, Romero turns to mezcal, tequila’s more diverse cousin. He starts with a version of the trendy spirit from Oaxaca, and combines it with serrano chile, pineapple, lemon juice and a touch of agave syrup. “This is rather a spicy drink, with the unmistakable touch of serrano,” Romero says. A slight itching on the lips after the first sip confirms his description. This bold cocktail is ideal if you love strong and smoky flavors.
Dessert in a Glass at Gastrobar Ñ, Blvd. Manuel Avila Camacho #985
With Romero as your virtual guide, you can continue your cocktail adventures with a stop at Gastrobar Ñ, located on Boca Del Rio’s iconic Manuel Avila Camacho Boulevard. The first cocktail to taste takes its inspiration from arroz con leche, or rice pudding, a traditional Mexican dessert. Served in a martini glass frosted with muscovado sugar, this version of the margarita mixes rice pudding ice with tequila and cinnamon — it’s a deliciously boozy dessert in liquid form.
The second star cocktail at Gastrobar Ñ features a completely different flavor profile. It’s a lychee martini, prepared with tequila, fresh lychee pulp and blue Curacao — crowned with a cherry for the perfect taste of summer.
Quiet and Tropical at Don Porfi Mezcaleria, Avenida Cristóbal Colón #198
Near the beach in Veracruz is Don Porfi Mezcaleria, which, as its name suggests, specializes in all things mezcal. Decorated with skulls, skeletons and other Day of the Dead-themed folk art, the bar’s signature drink — the Quiet and Tropical — sums up its location. Blended with Jamaica mezcal from Oaxaca and natural syrup, the deep-crimson cocktail is served in a margarita glass.
Before scouting these drinks, it’s worth considering mixologist Romero’s advice for a night (or day) on the town: “To enjoy the adventure, let yourself be influenced by the advice the guy behind the bar will provide. He will be able to find the ideal drink for each palate. All you will have to do is say ‘salud’ — or ‘cheers’ — at the end of each drink.”