Click to follow
The Independent Culture
THE FIRST thing you have to know about drinks for Mexican food is that wine will rarely stand up to those strong flavours. This is a shame, because there are a few good ones made in the country: I've always been a fan of the wines of LA Cetto, especially their Petite Sirah which can attain real distinction in good years. Sadly, the good years seem to be less reliable than of yore, but pick up a bottle on a dare if you happen to find one.

The second thing you need to know is that tequila is Mexico's greatest liquid product, but that under no circumstances should you drink it throughout the meal. Unless, of course, you want to spend the wee hours of the morning talking to Ralph on the big white telephone. Look for the good stuff, which can mostly be found at small specialists rather than the big chains. Conmemorativo is a long-standing favourite of mine. Sip it judiciously or make it into a superior Margarita (tequila, Cointreau and freshly squeezed lime juice in proportions of 5:3:4, shaken with loads of ice and strained for serving straight up or over fresh ice).

And then drink beer with your food. Nothing is better for these massive flavours. Mexican beers have achieved a certain amount of urban chic, but the commonest ones over here are no great shakes. One of the most popular, Corona, is often served with a wedge of lime stuck in the neck of the bottle. That's not an unreasonable idea, given the insipid nature of the fluid inside the bottle, but let's face it: if you have a really good beer, does it need citrus enrichment? There are better Mexican beers. Look for Dos Equis and Tres Equis, and especially for Bohemia, if you want to drink Mexican. But any good lager will do equally well. Serve it cold. Enjoy yourself. And don't worry about getting a partnership of perfection.