Ghosts and spirits: Alamos in a glass
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
We return from the streets of Alamos, Sonora, feet-weary but not ready to put to bed the spirits that have taken hold of our bodies. Throats dry, we reach for a drink. A bottle of tequila mysteriously lands in our hands.
With the wild celebrations of the Festival Cultural Alfonso Ortiz Tirado still ringing in our ears, we twist open the bottle of Murmullo Anejo, a surprise gift from host and Hacienda de los Santos owner Jim Swickard.
Forget the lime and salt; this tequila is best drunk straight, to be sipped, according to Jim, who also teaches tequila appreciation classes. So, amidst shared snifters, we savor each drop, exchanging stories that this smooth elixir, and intoxicating town, somehow extract from us. And in between raised glasses, we listen to the almost hushed souls of Alamos, sidling past in the gentle breeze, in the rustle of the leaves.
We are told the following evening, that tequila is not a nighttime drink, that traditionally, it is drunk during the earlier hours of the day. But what we discover is that perhaps there is no right or wrong way to consume Mexico’s most well known beverage. Perhaps it is simply a drink to be shared and savored amongst friends, anytime, anywhere.
Although being in Sonora does have its advantages.
“Sometimes the tequila outside of Mexico is different to what’s on the label,” says Jim, whose collection of over 400 bottles of tequila ranks as one of the country’s largest. And contrary to popular belief, there is no worm at the bottom of a tequila bottle.
It is not until the end of our journey that we are told of Bacanora, an even stronger, pre-colonial agave-derived liquor unique to the state of Sonora. But that’s okay. Sitting by the warmth of a fire, on this cool Sonoran night, we promise ourselves, and the ghosts, that we’ll be back