Tequila seems to be “That Drink” the one that haunts our memory with visions of  “lick sip suck” , excessive Margaritas and one too many shots.  Sounds like you? Well its time to give Tequila another chance and check out its origins in old Tequila Town Jalisco Mexico.

Since my early teens I have always had a fascination for Mexico, Tacos, Tequila, skulls, Margaritas, Mariachi and basically all things Mexico. In fact my first ever job at the age of 16 was at a restaurant on the Northern Beaches of Sydney Australia called Nachos.

Chichen Itza El Castillo

Columns in the Temple of a Thousand Warriors

When we opened our first Mexican Restaurant in Freshwater Sydney, we had a customer named Jacob, a young twenty something man with Mexican Day of the Dead tattoo art covering an entire arm, who entertained us with some amazing stories from his solo travels in Mexico.

Jacob introduced us to a cocktail called the Paloma, muddled limes and Tequila topped with a grapefruit soda, such as Jarritos Toronja. Not only was it delicious but it came with one of his stories, followed by our very own adventure.

The Paloma is Mexico’s most popular cocktail, no its not the Margarita as us westerners are lead to believe, and it was invented by Don Javier Delgado Corona at La Capilla Bar in Tequila Town Jalisco Mexico.

Don Javier Delgado Corona

Paloma Cocktail

We learnt from our young good looking tattooed man, that Don Javier was a third generation owner of the bar and was now in his late 80’s. When he started mixing drinks behind the bar more than 65 years ago, he had a taste for bitter grapefruit, so what better way to drink for a young Mexican boy, than with Tequila, lime and salt. And so the Paloma was invented. To this day he is still stirring the drink with an old wooden handled butter knife that he was given by his father as a boy.

Don Javier using his Wooden handled knife

Jacob had been to the bar many times, and told stories of his wonderful hospitality, rickety bar stools and the unassuming quaintness of this little bar La Capilla, which is rated in the worlds top 50 bars, and on the bucket list of many cocktail connoisseurs. That was it we were sold, this bar was added close to the top our own bucket list.

In 2012, we planned an entire holiday around visiting La Capilla. We traveled 12439 km, flying from Port Macquarie to Sydney, Sydney to Los Angeles and Los Angeles to Guadalajara Mexico. From there we waited out a Hurricane, before taking a private car and driver for the 2 hour drive to Tequila Town.

We soon found out that this drive was called the Tequila Trail as it has some of the worlds most recognisable Tequila distilleries dotted along its path. There is even a party train called the Tequila Express, where mariachi bands keep passengers entertained as they stop at a number of Tequila Distilleries on the way to Tequila Town. Unfortunately due to the Hurricane the train was not operating this day, but our private tour enabled us to have more freedom. We stopped at a street side stall and had our first and best Tamale, and visited Casa Herradura, one of Mexico’s most historic and renowned Tequila producers, on the premises of a 19th century Hacienda, an absolute must for anyone doing this trip.

Casa Herradura

Casa Herradura

Casa Herradura

Back on the dusty road again, we travelled another 10 minutes through a rolling sea of Blue Agaves, before we hit the edge of town.

Sea of Blue Agave

Blue Agave

My first thoughts were of an old cowboy town from one of the many westerns I had watched as a child. As our driver drove up and down the tiny streets, our lungs were filled with strong scents of corn, burning wood and BBQ meats. Kids played in the streets, and as clichéd as it sounds, wore beautiful bright coloured Mexican clothing.

Cute kids in Mexico

Our driver pulled the car over to ask for directions to La Capilla, and after a couple of minutes of Spanish banter, he turned to us with a look of pure defeat on his face, and in broken English said “La Capilla is closed on Mondays” …….. It was Monday.

La Capilla closed on Monday

So unfortunately I cannot speak of experience as to that little Tequila Joint know as La Capilla, or of Mr Don Javier Delgado Corona, or why it is rated in the top 50 bars in the world, but what I can say, is do your research carefully and ensure that if you are going to trek thousands of miles to a destination, that it is in fact open. Do add Tequila Town to your bucket list as half the adventure is getting there.

On the Road to Tequila Town