wo 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.