Photo: Guadalupe Juárez prepares fresh tejate

Oaxaca’s traditional energy drink is tejate, ‘the drink of the gods.’ This beverage was originally served to the ruling elite of Zapotec society. Tejate is usually served in markets in lovely hand-painted, gourd bowls called jícaras.

Like most Oaxacan delicacies, tejate’s ingredient list is complex. The libation is made from corn, roasted cacao beans, mamey seed and rosita flowers (flor cacahuaxochitl). The ingredients are blended in a thick mass, which is gradually thinned with water.

Tradition calls for this process to be done by hand and the tejateras’ forearm does the mixing.

Variations — Tejate can also be served as a sherbet, as cookies and as nicoatole. In the state of Tabasco, a similar drink is called pozol and has the consistency of a thin porridge.

The annual Tejate Fair is held each spring in the town of San Andrés Huayapam.

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