Wandering the streets of Quiroga something caught my eye. A table in the front of
a liquor store stocked with a unique liquor, Charanda. I examined the bottles, most
of which bore a print of a traditional Trascan mask and identified it as a cane sugar
derivative. I talked to the proprietor to find out a little more about the drink.
He said it was a traditional pre-colonial drink which is distinctly different from
rum. I was told it had more of a kick and is closer in taste to tequila. He recommended
sipping it straight or mixing it with either mango juice or apple soda. The price
range between mid-ranges and the top shelf choice was nominal so we splurged for
the best. The bottle came in a decorative wooden box and came adorned with a small
wooden trinket which I’m now sporting from my handlebars. The liquor itself was
a light amber in color and was 45% ABV.
That night we all played some cards in the hotel and drank like the natives. We
started by sipping a few ounces before adding any mixers. The taste was smooth and
buttery to begin with, followed by the mild fiery kick that the shopkeeper had advised
us about. Next we began mixing with the traditional mango juice and not so traditional
apple soda. I personally preferred the mango which complimented the spicy finish
with thick sweetness while Jess enjoyed the apple soda better because the carbonation
and lightness made the drink less syrupy. Overall, I enjoyed this spirit. It was
a welcome change from the heat of tequila but did have more spice than rum. As
it is not widely available, searching for it outside of Mexico may prove fruitless,
but if you are ever in Michoacan, Mexico I would recommend giving it a try.