Red Bull and vodka is a classic, but in Mexico – home to Rally Mexico, which is being led by Red Bull driver Sebastien Loeb heading into the final day – they drink Red Bull and tequila. In some bars here this is known as a ‘Matador’, with an interesting variation on it being a ‘Speed Ball’ – whose ingredients are Red Bull, tequila, and vodka.
Thankfully the drivers are laying off the hard stuff until the rally ends tomorrow, but nonetheless they’ve spent all day surrounded by tequila. The Comanjilla stage, close to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Guanajuato (a colourful former silver mining town) runs next to an agave plantation: the principal ingredient of tequila.
An agave is a cactus, which has fruit that is roughly the same size and shape as a pineapple. To make the tequila, some poor unfortunate harvesters have to first go in and do battle with a spiky cactus in order to get at the fruit.
This fruit is then traditionally crushed by a stone wheel, and the resulting liquid is the basis of tequila. Normally it is filtered and distilled: presumably to remove any stray cactus needles that might give your drink an extra burn as it goes down.
The very best tequila is aged, while some tequila houses triple-distill their base tequila, just to ensure that it can be used for unblocking drains as well as making cocktails. The ways to drink it are many (although the popular salt-licking and lime-sucking technique doesn’t really exist in Mexico) but one of the most popular methods is the ‘bandera’ – which means ‘flag’ in Spanish. This drinking ritual is named after the Mexican flag. First up is a shot of lime juice – which is the green. Then the tequila itself – white. Finally, a shot of sangrita (a local drink made from orange and grenadine). Enjoy.
Red Bull Citroen driver Mikko Hirvonen, who is currently second on the rally, once visited a tequila factory on a previous visit to Mexico – but he’s not exactly keen to repeat the experience. “It tastes quite disgusting,” he recalled. “Still, you could always use it to fuel the rally car…”