Tequila is Mexico's liquid treasure, and it's virtually ubiquitous in Cabo San Lucas. Shops sell bottles of tequila, activities companies toast the completion of tours with tequila, bars and restaurants boast tequila menus and hotels offer welcoming shots or tequila-based margarita cocktails. The agave-based liquor is seemingly ever-present, but there is a big difference between the free samplers handed out at jewelry shops, and the premium boutique tequilas offered at the area's top restaurants and nightclubs. With that in mind, here's a tasting guide for would-be connoisseurs.
Pancho's boasts more than 500 tequilas and mezcals — Photo courtesy of Pancho's Restaurant & Tequila Bar
Many Los Cabos activities include complimentary tequila shots. Cabo Adventures' Outback Camel Safari is one of the few that make tequila tasting an organic part of the tour. After an introduction to Baja flora and fauna, a camel ride along a secluded beach and a terrific traditional lunch, outback guides provide visitors with an extremely informative introduction to this signature Mexican liquor, from discussions of the altitude at which agave is grown to the various styles of tequila. Tasting is a key part of the process, but at least you've waited until noon.
Pancho's Restaurant & Tequila Bar offers traditional Mexican cuisine and what they claim is the world's largest tequila selection. Is it? Who knows? But with over 500 separate producers represented, there are labels here you're unlikely to see anywhere else.
Plus, Pancho's also boasts a huge selection of some of Mexico's other top liquors and liqueurs including mezcal, Damiana and Agavero. Damiana is made from an herb native to Baja and is considered a natural aphrodisiac. Agavero, a combination of tequila and Damiana, is an excellent digestif. Try it after a plate of Pancho's Puebla-style chicken mole.
Margaritas always taste better with Cabo Wabo Tequila — Photo courtesy of Cabo Wabo Cantina
Lorenzillo's Live Lobster House is a fine dining fixture on the Cabo San Lucas Marina and one of the few local spots to offer Xtabentun. It's not tequila, but as long as you're in Mexico, why not try this traditional Mayan liqueur made from rum, fermented honey and anise seed? Sample it neat, on the rocks, as an ingredient in one of Lorenzillo's famed flaming coffee cocktails, with Kahlua in a Mayan Kiss, or with tequila in a Maya Margarita.
Finally, you can't discuss tequila in Cabo San Lucas without mentioning Cabo Wabo. Former Van Halen frontman Sammy Hagar not only founded this successful downtown cantina, he also popularized the tequila of the same name. Cabo Wabo Cantina specializes in live rock and roll, tasty Mexican food and margaritas made from the house tequila. Try the Waborita, with Cabo Wabo tequila poured into a salt-rimmed glass with Damiana, Cointreau, fresh lime juice and a splash of blue curacao.