If there is ever one drink that characterizes Baja California Sur, it is Damiana liqueur, with its origins dating back to the time of the Guaycura indigenous tribes who inhabited the region.
It is said that the tribes made the liqueur from a plant and that they used to drink it at their ceremonies. They said that the liqueur had aphrodisiac effects, and that it also helped digestion and relaxation. Over time this prized drink became more ingrained in the region's culture.
The liqueur is made using the aromatic Damiana plant (after which it is named), a shrub with colorful leaves and an intense yellow flower that possesses diverse medicinal properties. Very common in Baja California Sur, Damiana grows wild next to certain types of cactuses and is also used as an aromatic herb in the preparation of a number of traditional regional specialty dishes.
The preparation of the Damiana liqueur consists of mixing a base of sugarcane liquor with the extract from the plant. The taste is sweet, featuring refreshingly intense herbal flavors provided by the Damiana plant.
You can drink the liqueur neat at room temperature, "on the rocks", as a frappe, or in any number of deliciously refreshing cocktails. Another product made using the plant is Damiana cream, which is used to make a wide variety of drinks and is an excellent digestive.
If you're traveling to the popular destinations of Baja California Sur, such as La Paz, Los Cabos, Todos Santos, or Loreto, don't forget to try this exquisite typical Baja California Sur liqueur and add it to your shopping list to take home as a souvenir!
Damiana Liqueur: The Typical Drink of Baja California Sur
- Verónica Santamaría Rodríguez