Non-Alcoholic Drinks

Two drinks deserve special consideration because they are so important to Mexico's indigenous people.
Atole is prepared by roasting kernels of corn, grinding them up, and stirring the resulting meal (called pinole) into water. Most atoles sold in mercado areas are sweetened with sugar or honey, and often flavored with fruit juices, cinnamon, vanilla and/or chocolate. In fact, there are hundreds of atole combinations, and some don't even employ corn. Middle-class Mexicans often concoct atole from blender-pulverized oatmeal.
 
Pozol is made by grinding boiled corn kernels to form the moist paste called masa, stirring the masa into water, aand adding a pinch of salt or sugar. Traditionally, when Mexican farmers, or campesinos, left their villages on their daily hikes to often distant fields, they carried with them a handful of masa, which for lunchtime they would make into pozol. Masa destined for making pozol is often flavored, especially with chocolate.

Back in the 60's when I was hitchhiking throughout Mexico, I often rode with truck drivers carrying large balls of masa ground at home by mamá or la señora, and neatly swaddled in white cloth. If we passed a good spring in the mountains, you could bet that we'd pause long enough to unwrap the masa, break off a small chunk, crumble it into a cup kept just for the purpose, add some cold spring-water, and then have pozol. Today pozol is mainly drunk by diehard traditionalists. Some pozoles are fermented and slightly alcoholic.

Of course, the multiplicity of mercado-area non-alcoholic drinks hardly ends with these two. Be sure to browse our list of non-alcoholic drinks.

Moreover, though it's rare to find people drinking alcoholic drinks in the mercado proper, it's very normal for establishments of all kinds of color to cluster along the mercado's perimeter offering alcoholic drinks. Even teetotalers might get a kick from viewing our list of alcoholic drinks.