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Raicilla is "Mexican Moonshine" you can find in Puerto Vallarta

Raicilla, "Mexican Moonshine" in Puerto Vallarta Mexico


Popular Mexican Expression:
"Para Todo Mal, Mezcal y Para Todo Bien Tambien"
(For everything bad, Mezcal and for everything good too)
In Puerto Vallarta, substitute 'Raicilla' for the word 'Mezcal'

Sometimes referred to as ‘Mexican Moonshine’, raicilla (say ‘rye-see-yah’) is a homegrown version of tequila or mezcal that has just recently begun to become ‘legitimized’ through branding and flavoring. Puerto Vallarta even now hosts a raicilla festival in the city’s main plaza every spring, where distillers show off and sell their wares, professionally packaged and labeled. More often though, you are likely to find raicilla sold in much the same way as you would expect bootleg liquor to be sold…from wandering street vendors or from somebody’s front porch delivered in a re-used plastic Coke bottle.


The same soil that gives Jalisco the perfect conditions for raising blue agave, the plant from which tequila is distilled, is responsible for the prosperity of the Agave Lechuguilla, a smaller and greener variety of agave from which raicilla is brewed. Growing and processing of the agave and distillation is nearly identical to the process for making tequila: The agaves are grown for 8 to 10 years, the leaves cut off, and the resulting ‘piña’ (it looks just like a gigantic pineapple) is baked for 24 hours. It’s then cut into chunks, pulverized with a mallet, and the resulting pulp and juice fermented for a week or so. Then it’s distilled over a fire, and the result is raicilla.


The end product has a distinctly different taste from tequila, and is usually considerably stronger, from 70 proof to over 150 proof in some cases. By tradition, when brewing, the first few drops of the distillate are thrown into the air…if they evaporate before hitting the ground, it’s a good batch!


The resulting liquid is usually clear to very slightly brown, and it is a powerful intoxicant! Drinking in straight shots or with lime is common, and others prefer to mix it with orange juice or grapefruit soda. While mixing it like this will mellow out the normally sharp bite on the tongue, many find it becomes more dangerous as it encourages drinking more than one should. Foolish behavior and hangovers of monumental proportions are the risks inherent with drinking raicilla.


Raicilla is brewed in several of the mountain towns above and around Puerto Vallarta. You might encounter a vendor with a supply of raicilla in one of Puerto Vallarta’s neighborhoods, and some restaurants, if asked, will bring a bottle to your table if they’ve got some or will even send a runner to the house of somebody nearby known to have it. More and more people, however, choose to venture to the nearby town of El Tuito, about 45 minutes south of Puerto Vallarta. This charming little town also has a few raicilla stills, and simply asking around will get you pointed to a vendor’s house with a hand-written paper sign by the door announcing the availability of raicilla.


You can catch a bus to El Tuito from Basilio Badillo street one block east of Highway 200 (known as Insurgented Street in town) at the south end of Puerto Vallarta, or the less adventurous traveler can hire a private taxi service for the trip which will include a bi-lingual guide.


Puerto Vallarta Mexico is  home to some of the finest dining in the WORLD. No kidding, Puerto Vallarta's restaurants have been featured repeatedly in the most prestigeous culinary publications, and for good reason...the fine dining in Puerto Vallarta is WORLD CLASS!

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