Menjurje de Ancho Reyes Review: Chili Liqueur Made In Mexico
| 2017-05-08T23:21:41+00:00 Last updated: August 3rd, 2022|
Menjurje de Ancho Reyes Review: Chili Liqueur Made In MexicoReinhard Pohorec2022-08-03T18:04:25-04:00
When talking about Mexican spirits, most people will immediately think of Tequila or Mezcal. Ancho Reyes is a fabulous alternative to spice up your home bar and favorite cocktails. In this review, you will discover Menjurje de Ancho Reyes as I cover the following topics:
Ancho Reyes is a traditional chili liqueur from the Puebla region in Mexico. In the 1920s, it was quite common for the local cantinas to offer a homemade “Menjurje” to its guests, which was sort of a local homebrew. Quite fiery and spicy in character, the liqueur has always been manufactured using the local poblano chilies. After sun-drying them for roughly 20 days, this special variety is called Ancho chili, hence the name of the spirit.
The color of the liquid is golden brown with ever so slight mahogany reflections. The appearance is crystal clear, showcasing a thick, oily viscosity, indicating a rich and unctuous experience.
Menjurje de Ancho Reyes’ Nose
Notes: Green pepper, herbs, caramel
There is a blast of smoky, charred green peppers as a first impression on the nose. I was quite amazed to experience that the first sensation has more of a vegetal quality, rather than the spice and prickliness one would probably expect from the red, fiery chili. The second dominant note medicinal with a wide spectrum of aromatic nuances.
It almost reminds me of a traditional herbal digestive bitter liqueur from the old monasteries in Europe, with a green funky chili and paprika note just sitting on top of that.
To give the nasal expression a more mellifluous connotation, touches of vanilla cream and Creme Brulee give some extra sweetness, intermingled with blackened caramel and a slightly musky or fusty finish. All in all, the olfactory stimulation is complex, intriguing and very well balanced, oscillating between dark sweetness and peppery spice.
Menjurje de Ancho Reyes’ Palate & Mouthfeel
Primary Taste: Sweet-bitter
Mouthfeel: Spicy, Oily
Opening: Chili ancho, caramel, green herbs
Heart: Roasted chili, vanilla cream, medicinal
Finish: Long [chili ancho, black walnuts, charred oak]
Even though the nasal impression is primarily green, herbaceous and pepper-driven, the first sip immediately shows red earth and chili bite, prickling all over your palate, but definitely not in an unpleasant way.
It’s a well-balanced get-together of sweetness and spiciness, encapsulated in an oily-rich mouthfeel. From beginning to end, I’m experiencing a rather consistent and pungent chili kick, proudly showing the ancho character in a charred, smoky dress.
After the initial impact, the evolution transcends into a mellower overall impression, referencing back to the vanilla cream, caramel and burnt toffee from the olfactory.
The finish is long, dry and complex.
How To Drink Menjurje de Ancho Reyes
Despite its bold character and unique flavor profile, I would consider the Ancho Chile liqueur a very versatile spirit. A refreshing serve would be a Boilermaker, where you sip the liqueur alongside a chaser of ice-cold beer.
Alternatively, turn the chili spice into a zesty long drink, with either some ginger ale, bitter lemon or tonic water on top. Pouring a shot of the liqueur neat, of course, is a delicious option, as well as using it as a very promising cocktail ingredient.
As mentioned above, Ancho Reyes is a superb cocktail ingredient and has consequently become an instant hit with craft bartenders, cocktail enthusiasts and home mixologists. Thus, we can suggest the following cocktails with Ancho Reyes:
Needless to say, everything that has a Mexican connotation to it would pair very well with the Ancho Reyes liqueur. Nevertheless, the more traditional classic cocktails like an Old-Fashioned, Whiskey Sour or Rob Roy would also benefit from a slight twist, using this characterful liqueur.
Best Pairings With Menjurje de Ancho Reyes
Speaking of pairings and the Mexican theme of the spirit: I had to reach for a Mexican cigar from the Turrent family. In this case, I decided to light up the Casa Turrent 1880 Maduro, because of its dark, rich leathery aromas and flavors, which proved to be an excellent combination with the Ancho Reyes liqueur.
When it comes to food pairings, my favorite combination is a simple snack of salted pretzel sticks, or Pane Guttiau, a traditional flatbread from Sardinia. It features a gorgeous note of olive oil with coarse sea salt sprinkled on top. These finger foods provide a clean sheet for the ancho chili to really shine. It’s like a white piece of paper that you can then write or paint on.
Overall Experience & Value For Money
This bottle sits somewhere north of 30 euros for a bottle of 70 cl. So it’s definitely not a cheap liqueur, but rather an exclusive sip to use sparsely. Given the 40% alcohol and the impressive experience though, the value for money is certainly obviously.
I’m very fond of the overall presentation of the bottle. The design offers a well-structured mixture of rustic, artistic elements, and more refined, ornate details. The bottle, besides its brownish hint, has a distinct texture and pattern, which makes it stand out from the rest. It perfectly ties in with all the information on the label as well as the website – transparency that is highly appreciated.
The tradition of local menjurjes in Puebla goes back to the early 1900s, the Ancho Reyes chili liqueur however couldn’t be more contemporary and perfectly accustomed to the modern bar culture. The design is modern yet classy, the flavor profile is bold, yet balanced, offering a versatile ingredient and rather new aromatic tool to all the drink enthusiasts.
Reinhard Pohorec is a sensory expert and experience designer with a unique reputation as an emerging talent in the world of sensory technology, luxury brands, premium cigars and beverages. Entrepreneur, creative mind and host, he specializes in staging exceptional experiences, educational programs, coaching and hospitality project management for leading companies on a global level.
With a focus on the multi-sensory, he creates memorable and inspirational experiences to educate like-minded epicurians. He’s a contributing author to international publications, a tasting panelist for various global platforms as well as the founder and host of Light 'Em Up.