While this may take on the look of a history class, we’ll try to liven things up with human sacrifices, monuments to the gods, the seven wonders of the world, and mystical mythology. All in a day’s work around the Sip Advisor offices! At recess we can even enjoy some tacos, burritos and enchiladas. So, take your Pepto or Tums, it’s time to get a little freaky with the various cultures that make up Mexico’s history:
These fine people worshipped a god that was half human and half jaguar. It had no name, so I’ve supplied my own: the humuar! You laugh now, but just wait and I bet those thieves writing modern Scooby Doo episodes will eventually steal this title. The Olmecs (now best known for the Olmeca Tequila brand… although I have no verification of this!) developed large parts of the eastern coast of Mexico and can be credited with sculpting the famed Colossal Heads.
The Olmecs have more origin stories than some comic book characters, including tales told in popular culture that they originated from Africa. Most researchers don’t find these accounts to be very credible, but the same could be said for many super heroes. The concept of zero is said to have been developed by the Olmecs, meaning we have them to blame every time we run out of money, food, lives, etc. Before this civilization came along, everything was infinite and unlimited and they went ahead and ruined all our fun in the name of mathematical accuracy.
Most importantly, Olmec culture was used for the 90’s Nickelodeon game show Legends of the Hidden Temple!
Usually nomadic, the Aztecs settled in Mexico after spotting an eagle standing on a cactus, clutching a snake in its talons. The image represents the sun, the heart, and the earth, respectively and is now depicted on the country’s flag. Like the Olmecs before them, the Aztecs were big into human sacrifices, believing that without blood, the sun would stop moving and the world would come to an end. During a sacrifice ceremony, the heart of the victim (although they’d have you believe there were volunteers) would be cut out and burned in the temple. The heart was known as “precious eagle cactus fruit,” which should be released as a liquor flavour.
The Aztecs were a bloodthirsty civilization, sacrificing anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 people per year. Ruler Montezuma II even killed 12,000 of his own people in one day. Not content to just enjoy sacrifices as entertainment, the Aztecs played a ball game called tlachtli… although the losers were often killed off to appease the gods. Thankfully, this isn’t the same result after the Sip Advisor’s soccer matches (winless in 2014).
The Mayans also played a ball game known as pitz, which is speculated to have featured decapitations, with those separated heads possibly used as balls in the sport. When in battle, the Mayans were known to throw hornet bombs at their enemies, which was an actual hornet’s nest. This is how Macaulay Culkin’s character in My Girl actually died, but the movie covers the fact the Mayans were responsible. Hey, if they used decapitated heads for sport, is a hornet bomb really unimaginable!? The Mayans can be credited with building the Chichen Itza city, now considered one of the seven wonders of the world.
Mayans were perhaps one of the first image-conscious civilizations, but they went about it in all the wrong ways. They would press boards against babies’ foreheads to given them a desired flat surface and cross a young child’s eyes by dangling an object on the bridge of their nose until the desired effect was achieved. Children were named according to the day they were born with a set list for boys and girls that was expected to be followed. Lastly, although they’re always credited with predicting the end of the world in 2012, this is complete hokum (to borrow a line from Sheldon Cooper). The Mayan’s calendar system merely meant that a new cycle would begin on Dec. 20, 2012 and mention of other occurrences past that date do exist in Mayan accounts.
The Incas recorded their history using a string and knot system, known as Quipu. The Sip Advisor does the same when tying his shoelaces every morning, although those entries are lost every afternoon when the laces are untied and I’ve forgotten to once again jot down the activities of my day. The Incas were prominent users of the coca plant for everything from pain relief to surgeries, energy boosts to appetite suppression. Modern day pop drinkers and cokeheads can thank them for their discovery.
The Incan flag depicts two snakes eating opposite ends of a rainbow with a tassel in the middle. I’d give my best interpretation of what this could mean, but I would surely offend a number of groups and therefore, I’ll leave it be. European diseases such as smallpox greatly destroyed the Incan civilization. The disease was able to spread so quickly because of the empire’s own triumphs, such as their highly-developed road system.
This civilization built cities in the south of Mexico and believed that they came into existence after emerging from caves or transforming into human form from being trees and jaguars. Were the tree people more likely to be vegetarians, while the former jaguars were meat eaters? Ah, the experiments one would conduct if they had a time machine!
The Zapotec also developed the first writing system in the Americas, so we have them to thank for this wonderfully-crafted site, but also them to blame for tripe like the Twilight series. While at war (is that all people ever did back in the day!?) the Zapotecs used a cotton form of armour. I have continued on this tradition, as when I enter battle with Mrs. Sip, I adorn myself with Q-tips, cotton balls, and surgical wrappings. It doesn’t help much, but it has provided many amazing selfie photos!
The time of the Toltecs was looked at as a “golden era” thanks to developments in writing and medicine, among other advancements. Both the Mayans and Aztecs highly respected the Toltecs and fashioned themselves after the civilization in many regards. To have a ‘Toltec heart’ was a compliment of the highest respect as it carried the weight of being worthy and excellent at all things. This is a commendation that I have received throughout my life, but only now realize that folks weren’t hurling insults in my direction.
Mexico: El Diablo
- 1.5 oz Tequila
- 0.5 oz Blackberry Liqueur
- Top with Ginger Ale
- Splash of Lime Juice
- Garnish with Lime Wedge
So much blood has been spilt in Mexico and we haven’t even got to the drug cartels that run the country today. Oh well, some stories need to be saved for another time!
Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
I was really looking forward to trying out this recipe and it did not disappoint. I did sub Blueberry Liqueur for Blackberry Liqueur because I was curious about how that would work and it came together very well. The best part of the drink was the smoky tequila aftertaste that can only be enjoyed with an anejo version of the spirit. Given this cocktail and Monday’s 5 out of 5 Sea of Cortez drink, Mexico has the best numbers so far for the Around the World tour!