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Siglo Cero Pox Mexican spirit

THINK OUT OF THE POX

Pox: The next big Mexican drink

Drink

The Mayan elixir arriving in the UK next year...

Mexican farmers produce 26 million tons of corn every year, so why doesn’t Mexico make whisky? Well, it does – but few outside of Mexico have ever heard of it. Pox – they may need to work on the branding – is distilled from corn, wheat and sugar cane.

Pox (pronounced ‘posh’) was invented by the Mayans, who drank it during lunar rituals. In 2012, the Chiapas government finally certified that pox could be sold outside of the Mexican state, allowing pox to, er, spread to some of the world’s coolest bars.

Mind-bending Mayan elixir

Boosted by the viral success of mezcal, Mexican whisky is set to become the next thing. So why haven’t you heard of it until now? Pox is not recognised as alcohol by the Mexican government so there are no legal standards (you could be drinking anything). But with its popularity growing, artisan pox bars are starting to crop up all over Mexico.

Siglo Cero Pox Mexican spirit

At Poshería – a pox tasting room in Yucatan – you’ll find every type of pox, from a 19.5% double-distilled hibiscus-infused digestif that macerates for a year to a single-distilled “ceremonial pox” at a mind-bending 53% ABV.

So what does pox taste like?

A blend of smoky whisky flavours with a sweet finish that tastes a bit like rum. Two iconic drinks in one glass? What’s not to like about that.

The good stuff should smell like toasted Mexican corn tortillas. In the Mexican state of Chiapas, pox is usually served with orange slices dusted with coffee grounds and a few pieces of cacao.

The more ‘robust’ bottles of pox are best drunk in a cocktail. Pox pairs well with citrus, tamarind and grilled pineapple. The pox cocktail Hala Ken, served at Fifty Mils in Mexico City (one of the World’s 50 Best Bars) features Ancho Reyes chili liqueur, grapefruit, avocado leaves, lime juice and hoja santa (Mexican herb) bitters.

You’ll also find the odd bottle of flavoured pox: coffee, coconut, chocolate and vanilla.

Where can you buy pox?

The most well-know pox is Siglo Cero – the only brand that currently exports to the U.S (but not Europe… yet). Pox is still very much under-the-radar so expect to see online drinks retailers stocking it in 2020, and the first pox bar open in the UK by the end of next year. Until, then you’ll have to hitch catch a plane to the Chiapas highlands or ask someone to bring you back a bottle of the next big global spirit.

Prefer gin? Here are 12 best flavoured gins you need to try

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