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video credit to: TasteTequila, 10/2/2011

Batanga, a cocktail with roots firmly planted in Mexican soil, has emerged as a fairly popular drink in the Mexican beverage culture. Essentially a Mexico-inspired version of the classic Cuba Libre, Batanga is characterized by its unique twist—tequila in place of rum. This refreshing cocktail is credited to Don Javier Delgado, the visionary owner of La Capilla in Tequila, Mexico, who is said to have crafted the first Batanga in 1961. What sets this drink apart is not just its spirited mix of flavors but also the ritualistic preparation involving a distinctive lime-cutting knife.

Batanga drink, at its core, is a reinterpretation of the Cuba Libre, a cocktail that traditionally features rum, cola, and lime. In the case of this drink, tequila takes center stage, lending the drink a bold and robust character. The recipe is deceptively simple yet remarkably effective, making it a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

To prepare this drink, one typically starts with a base of high-quality tequila—often Blanco or Reposado—to ensure that the drink captures the true essence of the spirit. This is combined with cola, which adds effervescence and a touch of sweetness. The final flourish comes from the addition of freshly squeezed lime juice, providing a zesty and citrusy kick that elevates the entire experience.

Don Javier Delgado, the visionary behind this drink, remains a revered figure in the world of mixology. His legacy extends beyond just crafting a unique cocktail, it is rooted in a commitment to preserving and celebrating Mexico’s rich drinking culture. La Capilla, the quaint cantina he owned, became a pilgrimage site for cocktail enthusiasts seeking an authentic taste of Batanga and a glimpse into the artistry of its creator.

Don Javier’s contribution to the world of cocktails goes beyond just the recipe. The ritualistic preparation of Batanga is an integral part of its charm, and it involves a unique and theatrical touch—stirring the drink with the same knife used to cut the limes. This practice adds a layer of authenticity and mystique to the cocktail, turning each Batanga into a crafted masterpiece.

The ritual of stirring the Batanga with a knife used for cutting limes is an homage to the craftsmanship and tradition that Don Javier Delgado held dear. The knife, a simple yet indispensable tool in the bartender’s arsenal, becomes a symbol of the care and attention dedicated to the drink. As the knife stirs the tequila, cola, and lime, it imparts a subtle infusion of lime oil, enhancing the aroma and flavor profile of the cocktail.

Batanga Recipe

  1. 60 ml tequila

  2. 15 ml fresh lime juice

  3. 90 ml Coca-Cola, to top

  4. Ice

  5. Garnish: lime wheel

batanga drink

How to Make a batanga

  1. Add the tequila and fresh lime juice to a highball glass.

  2. Add ice and stir to combine.

  3. Top off with Coca-Cola and lightly stir.

  4. Garnish with a lime wheel.

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