Puebla, Mexico, is known for its colonial architecture, Talavera tile decor, and, of course, a delicious array of moles. But there is one unique drink that is not only confined to the city of Puebla, but to a small bar that operates for just a few hours a day. At La Pasita in the Barrio de Sapos, the raisin-flavored liqueur, also named pasita, has been flowing for more than 50 years.
In 1960, Emilio Contreras Aicardo purchased a small grocery store, where, among sundry goods, house-made liqueurs were also on offer. After converting the space (then called El Gallo de Oro) into a liquor store and bar, he decided to keep and continue crafting the house-made liqueurs. A year later, he trademarked the pasita (which means “little raisin”) and it’s been a signature product ever since. The brown bottles feature the image of an elegant woman holding a serving tray with a martini glass and a dangling cluster of grapes.
The drink, however, is served in a slender shot glass known as a caballito (“little horse”). The dark amber–hued pasita arrives with a toothpick-skewered cube of goat cheese and soaked raisin. Whether one decides to throw back the shot or sip it, the salty cheese and moist fruit make a refreshing accompaniment, much like other classic pairings such as chèvre and jam.
Around the bar, references to and rhymes about the drink abound. One yellow sign reads: “Maximum Velocity / 5 Pasitas per hour / Velocity controlled by radar.” For those looking to really test their speed, however, the bar also plays host to the infamous pasita challenge. Allegedly, any person who can drink 100 cups of pasita not only gets their entire bar tab covered, but wins a cash prize. The bar claims that they will also cover the winner’s funeral costs. Though proof is lacking, legend has it that one contestant did make it through the 100 drinks, but another challenger was not so lucky. The Spaniard, whose severely soused snapshot appears in a newspaper clipping hanging near the bar, made it to 93 before needing medical attention.