The Batanga, or the Charro Negro as its more commonly referred to as across Mexico, is a simple combination of tequila, lime, and Coke. Essentially, the Batanga is Mexico’s answer to the Cuba Libre. Similarly to the Cuba Libre, despite the simplicity of its composition, the Batanga has a very specific cultural significance that requires careful consideration of ingredients and preparation, and ultimately, says something about Mexican drinking culture.
Created by Don Javier Delgado in the 1960s at La Capilla, his restaurant in Tequila, Mexico, it’s hard to nail down an exact spec for the Batanga as proportions of its ingredients tend to vary depending on how much tequila you want (or need). According to today’s guest, Clayton Szczech, Delgado would serve the drink depending on what he believed his guest needed, how much they wanted to drink, or where they could potentially be going after leaving his restaurant. After free- pouring his Batangas, perhaps the most recognizable part of the preparation of the drink was stirring it with a serrated lime knife — the same one used to slice the fruit. The standard serrated kitchen knife became an important facet of the drink’s lore, and today, it’s not really a Batanga if you don’t mix up your drink with it.
Today on the “Cocktail College” Podcast, host Tim McKirdy is joined by Clayton Szczech, a Mexico-based former bar owner, sociologist, writer, and author of “A Field Guide to Tequila” to discuss the Batanga. Tune in for more.
The Batanga Recipe
- 1 ½ ounces Tequila Blanco (or a mixto, such as El Tequileño)
- ½ ounce lime juice (roughly one Key lime)
- Mexican Coca-Cola, to taste
- Garnish: lime wedge
- Prepare a highball (or chimney) glass rimmed with rock salt.
- Add tequila, lime juice, and top with ice and Coke.
- Stir with the same knife used to cut the lime until chilled.
- Garnish with lime wedge.