Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Quezalteca - The Liquor of Guatemala

If you've spent any time in Guatemala, you'll recognize this lady!
Quezalteca liquor label Guatmala
The label on Quezalteca
That's the label on a bottle of liquor called Quezalteca (kez-al-TEK-ah). Bert and I wanted to stay in on a Saturday night, so we decided to give this iconic drink a try. It can be found at any corner store, and also comes in flavours such as Rosa de Jamaica and Tamarindo. We decided to just go for the traditional unflavoured kind. This 500 mL (17 oz) bottle cost Q23 or around $3.84 Canadian. That's why it's kinda known as the cheap man's liquor!

We cracked open the bottle and took a sniff. Bert thought it smelled just like any hard liquor; I thought it smelled like hairspray!
I did a shot, just to get the full effect. It was strong, burning, but kinda clean. Pretty much like doing a shot of vodka or white rum.
We mixed it with mango Yus, a powdered drink mix that we love. Tasted just like any other mixed drink. I got warm and tipsy pretty quickly, but then again, I'm a chugger. (My friends can attest to that!) Bert said he didn't feel too drunk but then put a lit cigarette behind his ear!! Ha ha!

Meanwhile, I had made a homemade pepperoni pizza that we gobbled down. Pizza is available here in Panajachel but it's only really good when you pay more for it at nice places such as Ricassoli's on Santander. Grabbing a slice from one of the pizza stalls is a bad idea. It's basically just crust with minimal sauce, very little cheese, and cut up ham or weiners. Bleh.
Making a pizza from scratch is the way to go, although you will pay almost as much for the toppings as you would going out to a restaurant. Pepperoni from Chalo's is Q30 a pound and cheese is Q13.50 for 200 grams of Oaxaca cheese, a rubbery white cheese very similar to Mozzarella. I made the crust from scratch using a recipe from my friend, NJP. Delicious!

Okay, so back to the booze. We had a good time, got tipsy, and didn't experience any hangover the next day. Bonus! I would drink this as an alternative to rum or vodka in any mixed drink. Next time, I think I'll try the Rosa de Jamaica flavour.  :D

We were reading the label and didn't know all the words, so we looked them up.
At the top it says made with aguardiente añejo. We plugged that into an online translator and it said, "old firewater". Ha!  Honestly, I think it's supposed to be aged brandy but old firewater is so much more macho.
Also, on every bottle of liquor and advertisement of liquor in Guatemala, there is always a version of the phrase in white on blue under the lady on the label. It translates to; "Excessive consumption of this product is harmful to the health of the consumer." Good to know!

For more info about the manufacturer of this brand of Quezalteca, here is their official website.

For those who speak Spanish, here's an ad for Quezalteca. I didn't catch too many words but I did hear, "Quezalteca IS Guatemala."  :D

Have fun and drink responsibly!


  1. AnonymousJune 14, 2016

    oh that is just fantastic! we definitely have to try this in august! ~ suzanne

  2. AnonymousJune 16, 2016

    I have just finished reading your entire blog. Very informative and fun. My girlfriend and I are exploring the possibility of making the move from southern Ontario and will be visiting the Lago de Atitlan area in September. We are both very excited. Thanks for sharing. ~ Dave

  3. Hi there! Im from Canada as well just came back from a short but amazing trip in Central America. I loved the Atitlan lake in Guatemala, be sure to visit San Marcos and San Pedro villages, they were cute, full of yoga retreats and nice hostels. I definitely enjoyed Quezalteca Rosa de Jamaica, you can even get Quezalteca beer, the first thing I actually tried and really liked it, even though its sweet. I was wondering, what could one mix it with to make a nice refreshing summer drink? Canada dry with mint?