How to Make Tropical Drinks Mexican Style

Spring is here, and along with it … Spring Fever! For those balmy, sunny days of May we’re bringing you an array of tropical drinks, Mexican style. They include two types of Sangría, three types of Daiquiris, Swim-up Bar Piña Coladas, Rumbas, Rum Coolers anda Renegade Rum Drinks. None take a large amount of time or energy to prepare, except perhaps the Valle Guadalupe Sangía—and the most time-consuming part of making that is slicing up the fresh fruit! But it’s worth it, trust me.

Any of the rum drinks can be made “virgin,” by merely eliminating the alcohol. My kids have enjoyed Piña Coladas without rum since they were little!

So, in honor of spring—Fiesta! Just remember to do it responsibly! (And, if you’re in the mood for Margaritas, check out the Mexcocina archives!


Sangría is a popular spring and summer drink that originated in Spain. It’s fruity and tastes somewhat like a delicious wine punch. However, beware that the Mexican version has Controy and Brandy in it, which, together, gives it an extra jolt.

This recipe makes a little over a gallon. Sangría may be served in tall glasses filled with crushed ice. It may also be served chilled in wine glasses without ice. Save the "drunk fruit" afterwards to use for a quick second batch if you run out, which you may—because it's really, really good! It is my signature drink and I named it after the Guadalupe Valley just to the northeast of Ensenada in northern Baja, home of the majority of Mexico’s wineries.

1/2 gallon burgundy wine
1 medium Orange
4 cups Orange juice
2/3 cup Mexican Controy, Cointreau or Triple Sec
1/2 cup brandy
1 apple
2 limes
1 pear
2 bananas

Using a vegetable peeler, peel the skin from the Orange so that it's very thin. Put the Orange peel in a small bowl. Using the back on a spoon, bruise the peel to extract the oil from the Orange.

In a large punch bowl, combine wine, Orange juice, Controy and brandy. Add Orange peel and sugar into wine mixture.

Separate Orange into sections and cut sections in half. Cut the apple and pear into small pieces, leaving the skin on. Half the limes and cut them into thin slices. Slice bananas. Add all fruits to wine mixture and chill at least four hours.


Sangría Blanca is a lighter, less potent wine punch that could be best described as the “Los Cabos Sangría.” Why? Well, since it’s made with white wine, limeade, club soda and pineapple (instead of burgundy, brandy and the more hearty fruits), it’s lighter and more tropical in its flavors. It's great for brunches or luncheons. This makes approximately one gallon and will transport you to those little latitudes!

1 6 ounce can frozen limeade
1 can water
16 - 20 ice cubes
1/2 gallon dry white wine, chilled
1 quart club soda, chilled
1 lime, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chunked fresh pineapple

Place limeade, water and ice cubes in blender and blend until slushy.

Pour half mixture into each of two large pitchers. Pour half of the wine and half the club soda into each pitcher. Garnish chilled wine glasses with lime and a pineapple chunk. Serve immediately.


These totally tropical, guaranteed-to-jumpstart your Spring Fever-Daiquiris are easy to make in your blender. Fun, tasty and refreshing, this recipe serves four and it’s guaranteed to instantly transport you to somewhere south of the Tropic of Cancer! Serves four.

6 ounces light rum
1 1/2 tbsp lime juice
1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries or 3 peaches (or mangos), pitted and peeled
crushed ice to top of blender
sugar (optional)

Put rum, lime juice, and strawberries, peaches or mangoes in blender. Fill to top with ice. Blend until very slushy and serve immediately.

If sugar-rimmed glasses are desired, wet top of martini or Margarita glass with water and swirl in small dish of sugar. Pour into the glass.


Have you heard Jimmy Buffett's song, "Margaritaville?" (Hasn't everyone?!) Does it remind you of hot, sodden days in tropical Mexico? Well—not me. The real scoop is that the tourists in resorts all over coastal Mexico drink Piña Coladas. I know. I’ve hung out with them at enough swim-up bars around the country! Made from pineapple juice, coconut juice—and of course—rum, the flavor is pure tropics.

This blender-made version is less heavy and calorie-laden than Mexican Piña Coladas, but it's guaranteed to be just as delicious. Try these and you'll see yourself lounging under a palm tree next to the surf. Or on a submerged barstool in Ixtapa, Puerto Vallarta, Cabo or Cancún. You can also make the “sin ron” or without rum if you prefer your drinks virgin!Serves four.

6 ounces light rum
2 cups pineapple-coconut juice (found in most grocery stores)
Ice to top of blender
Pineapple slices for garnish
dash of nutmeg

Pour rum and juice in blender. Fill to top with ice. Blend until very slushy. Pour into tall glasses and garnish with pineapple slices.


Baja California’s East Cape is one of the hottest up-and-coming resort areas in Baja. It extends from north of Los Barriles to Buena Vista and then south a ways to Cabo Pulmo. Its hub is located about 45 minutes north of the Los Cabos Airport. The East Cape rightfully boasts that it has some of the world’s greatest sport fishing. The area has an outstanding record for promoting conservation of its ocean wildlife through a catch and release program, which has kept lots of species (particularly the marlin and sailfish) off the endangered species list. The East Cape also offers up great diving,
snorkeling, wind surfing and any other kind of ocean sports you can imagine.

After a long day fishing or playing volley ball in the pool, order up one of these local delights and you will be amazed at how refreshed you’ll feel! The combination of coconut rum, tonic, bitters and lime will delight your taste buds for sure—whether you’re stateside sipping them in the back yard on a hot day or whether you’re barefoot on a beach in Baja! This recipe serves four.

4 ounces light rum
4 ounces coconut rum (try Malibu or Captain Morgan’s)
4 dashes of bitters
1 Mexican lime cut into quarters
tonic water
4 dashes fruit juice (any tropical punch/combination will do)

Fill four tall glasses with ice. Add light rum, coconut rum and fill to the top with tonic. Put a dash of fruit juice and a dash of bitters in each glass and garnish with a slightly squeezed slice of lime. Serve immediately.


From the Palapa Bar at the La Concha Hotel near the marina in La Paz, the capital of Baja California del Sur, comes these light, tropical, fruity drinks. Serves four.

1/4 cup fresh papaya
1/4 cup fresh cantaloupe
3/4 cup pineapple juice
3/4 cup Orange juice
6 ounces light rum
1 tbsp grenadine
4 slices Orange
4 maraschino cherries

Put all ingredients in blender and fill to nearly the top with ice. Blend until very slushy and pour into four glasses. Garnish with Orange slices and maraschino cherry on toothpicks, if desired. Or drink it plain—pure and simple.


The first summer I spent in La Bufadora, where I now have a second home, I hung out a lot with an old friend from San Diego named Kit. Having earned his living as a bartender for many years, Kit taught me how to make some killer rum drinks. I can still see his grin as I navigated the rather treacherous concrete stairs down to the beach at Papalote Bay, carrying a tray of umbrella, pineapple and Orange-topped drinks in hot pink and blue plastic cups just as the sun was starting to dip into the sea on a late, late summer afternoon.

6 ounces rum
6 ounces cranberry juice
6 ounces peach juice or any other tropical juice
4 16 ounce neon plastic cups
4 paper umbrellas
4 chunks fresh pineapple
4 slices Orange

Fill plastic cups with ice. Add rum, juices and stir. Top with pineapple chunks and Orange slices skewered onto the paper umbrellas. Place on tray and serve outdoors with Jimmy Buffett music playing in the background. Serves four.

Recipe and tips provided by Ann Hazard.

Join author Ann Hazard, as she leads you through four generations of historic Baja culinary adventure. She shares not only her family's favorite travel tales, but also the delicious, easy-to-prepare recipes she has collected and created. By the time you've cooked a meal or two and finished reading the book, you're guaranteed a lasting dose of Baja Magic. The book may even turn your perspective slightly to the South, lighten your heart and forever transform your outlook on life!

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