Puerto Peñasco, the port city that hugs the coast of the Gulf of California in Sonora, will host the first annual Bacanora festival in Mexico this weekend.
Bacanora is a regional spirit made from agave hearts, a kind of mezcal with a transparent or sometimes pale yellow color that is sweet and strong, with a high alcohol content.
The spirit was banned by authorities until the 20th century, which meant hidden production and consumption much like moonshine in the United States — it’s said that even the Colonial-era Catholic monks partook of bacanora when they could. In 1992, new regulations were signed into law in terms of the liquor’s production and sale, and from there bacanora began its comeback story.
Producers are experimenting with new flavors and the spirit is showing up on some of the hippest cocktail menus across the country, including one of the recently named 50 Best Bars in North America, Café de Nadie in Mexico City. Now this regional liquor will be the star of its very own festival.
The festival will also showcase local products and cuisine, as well as host a contest in which local restaurants and bars will compete to make the best bacanora cocktail. The festival will take place along the Malecón Fundadores, the city’s seaside promenade.
Put on by the Sonora State Tourism Board, the Visitors and Conventions Office of Puerto Peñasco and the municipal government of Puerto Peñasco, the festival will feature legendary singer Lorenzo de Monteclaro, as well as country music from Smokes Revolver and Jesús Johnson, and regional tunes from the Mariachi de los Hermanos Durán. The Hermanos Durán will be receiving special recognition for their 42 years in the music business at the festival’s opening ceremony.
The festival will open with special ceremonial rituals preformed by the local Tohono O’odham indigenous peoples and a welcome from local authorities.
With reports from El Imparcial