Mexico is a land where life and legend intertwine to the extent
when it’s hard to separate one from the other. People who used to live here thousands of years ago believed that nature and our inner world are connected and everything that happens in our souls is reflected on the outside. Indeed, when you hear stories about mystical creatures living in Mexico caves, mountains, forests and rivers, or tales explaining the origin of different plants, animals and weather phenomena, you catch yourself wondering whether any of this could actually be true… If you are thrilled by that sort of stuff, the legend of the Xtabentun flower will definitely appeal to you with its romantic backdrop and rather unexpected moral.
Sweet as love
- · Once there lived a gorgeous woman called Xtabay. She was known for her flippant behavior and there was hardly a man in the village she didn’t have an affair with. However, she had a kind heart and always lent a hand to those in need.
- · Her neighbor was the pious Utz-Colel, a woman who was considered an example of virtue because she was never spotted sinning. But her heart was cold as a stone and she didn’t care about anyone else’s trouble.
- · When Xtabay died, her grave was covered by white flowers that filled the town with a sweet, dizzy aroma. People called them Xtabentun in her memory and began to use their nectar to prepare a beverage with the same intoxicating effect Xtabay had on her lovers.
- · The plant that grew on the tomb of Utz-Colel was an ugly cactus that was given the name Tzacam. This crooked, spiny weed gave off a disgusting smell revealing the true nature of the old hypocrite. According to the legend, if you lose your way in the Mayan jungle, the spirit of Utz-Colel will come for you from the underworld.
The Xtabentun drink is still brewed in Mexico from anise seed, fermented honey and rum according to the traditional recipe. It can be served straight, with a couple of ice cubes or with a cup of coffee. Mixing one part Xtabentun with one part tequila and throwing in half a lime will result into a cocktail dubbed ‘Maya Margarita.’ You can also drink it with wine for the olhombre (‘clashing’) effect. So if you are planning to go on a Mexico cave trip
, explore the ruins of Yucatan or simply tour the country at will, don’t miss your chance to taste this legendary beverage every drop of which is still filled with Xtabay’s charm!