Not only is tequila the national drink of México, but it’s also the grease that lubricates the welcome wagon wheels and unlimbers inhibitions at many of the country’s premier coastal resort destinations.
In Los Cabos, hotels serve welcome margaritas, restaurants offer postprandial shots at all hours of the day and at least one beachfront bar is patrolled by a Pancho Villa lookalike with shot glass-stuffed bandoliers and tequila bottles tucked in holsters. Tequila's as ubiquitous as flip flops and fish tacos.
The ultimate local stop for tequila lovers, however, is Tequila Cabo Único.
Tequila Cabo Único celebrates México's national drink, from the agave plants out front to murals demonstrating the processes of cultivation and distillation — Photo courtesy of Tequila Cabo Único
Tequila is, in the hands of premium Mexican producers, one of the world’s finest spirits. Many upscale area eateries in Los Cabos offer enough tequila variety to merit the equivalent of a wine list. And a few boutique shops feature a wealth of exceptional bottles for those with top-shelf souvenir tastes.
Los Barriles de Don Malaquias, a few blocks from Plaza Mijares in San José del Cabo, boasts a treasure trove of rare tequilas and fine Cuban cigars.
And Tequila’s House in downtown Cabo San Lucas was one of the few places that remained open in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Odile, the category-4 storm that ravaged the region in September 2014, selling residents necessities such as and bread and bottled water until tourists returned seeking high-end selections from their enormous tequila collection.
Then, there's Tequila Cabo Único, one of the best stops in town. Located across the street from the town square in Cabo San Lucas, Tequila Cabo Único is equal parts boutique, liquor store and museum.
Decorative hand-painted bottles are a specialty of Tequila Cabo Único, like this one for the 2014 Bisbee's East Cape Offshore fishing tournament — Photo courtesy of Tequila Cabo Único
Agave plants line the sidewalk outside, and window shoppers are treated to the sight of coas de jima (harvesting tools) and colorful murals depicting the tequila-making process, from the cultivation of agave plants by jimadores (tequila farmers) to distillation and barrel aging.
The store showcases superb blanco, reposado and añejo tequilas from Jalisco-based producer La Cofradía (whose name means "The Brotherhood," in Spanish), many of which are presented in gorgeous decorative bottles.
From evocatively shaped decanters to hand-painted glass, the best bottles are elegant works of art – some commemorate local events like Bisbee’s Black and Blue, the world’s richest fishing tournament – but ones that also serve a useful purpose: protecting liquid treasures.
Luckily, shop staff aren’t shy when it comes to free samples. Visitors can sip smooth tequila while browsing shelves of exquisitely painted bottles or perusing Tequila Cabo Único’s stock of artisanal, 100% handmade clothing and crafts.