I meet a lot of interesting people down here in Mexico, and the other day I got to talk with a man from the USA that has been in business in Xcalak, Mexico for the last 31 years. David Randall is originally from Minnesota. David and his wife, Ilana, own and operate Costa de Cocos in Xcalak, Mexico, about an hour south of Mahahual. They also own Mango Moonshining in Xcalak, a company that brews its own beer, and makes Muir Blanco, Mexican corn liquor, or what we call in the USA, moonshine.
David has been in Xcalak for the last 31 years. He had a catfish farm and business in the USA. During the winters there was not much for him to do, so he decided to come to Mexico and look around for a place to spend three or four months in the winter.
In 1986 David spent three months exploring Mexico and looking for some land on the beach. He found Xcalak, and loved it, and bought property there. Two years later in 1988, he opened Costa de Cocos with only five rooms. Since then his resort now has 17 rooms, and it is world renowned as a fly fishing destination, and dive resort. The resort is totally off the grid.
Costa de Cocos when it first opened was one of the only places to get a room in Xcalak at that time. His place attracted a lot of backpackers, and tourists wanting to get away from it all. From those humble beginnings, Costa de Cocos has grown into a fishing lodge, diving center, restaurant, and attracts tourists from all over the world.
Three years ago, I spent two months in Xcalak, and was within walking distance to Costa de Cocos. We used to go to the restaurant a couple of times a week, and the food there is excellent. In fact I had the best steak I have ever eaten in Mexico at the restaurant there one night. I also like their pizza, but everything I have eaten there was good. Whenever I take someone to Xcalak to look around, I always make it a point to take them to Costa de Cocos for lunch or dinner. There are tables on a deck overlooking the Caribbean, and it is a great setting to have a couple of drinks and a nice meal. So if you are ever in Xcalak, stop by and check Costa de Cocos out.
In talking to David the other day, I think he has found his own true passion, making his own moonshine, and now bourbon. He has been brewing his own beer for years, but now he has started Mango moonshine, and is distilling his own liquor, right in Xcalak.
The moonshine, Muir Blanco, has been around for a couple of years, and is now being sold in Mahahual at Nohoch Kay, Fernando’s liquor store, and at the Tropicante book store. I have tasted the moonshine, and it tastes just like moonshine they make back in the Carolinas. I have introduced it to several cruise ship tourists before, and they were amazed that moonshine is being made here in Quintana Roo, and took some home.
So after the success of their moonshine, they have decided to branch out and make their own bourbon. For the last 18 months I believe, they have been aging bourbon in #4 charred oak barrels. Their bourbon is 80 proof, and is corn-based with malted barley, just like they do in Kentucky and Tennessee. It is aging in 35 and 53 gallon barrels. The bourbon will be sold in 250ml and 700ml bottles, and will be on the market soon.
There is not a name for the bourbon being made in Xcalak at the moment, so we decided to have a contest to name the bourbon. This contest is open to the public, and anyone can enter. The winner of the “Name the Bourbon Made in Xcalak” contest will receive two days and nights at the resort Costa de Cocos, with lodging and meals included. You will also get to tour the distillery and see how bourbon is made here in Xcalak, and sample the bourbon and moonshine.
So send your name suggestions to http://www.mangomoonshining.com or send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep in mind to try to include Maya or Mayan or something else related to Xcalak or Quintana Roo and Mexico in the name. Give it your best shot.
So if you are in Mahahual on a cruise ship, here on vacation, or a Snow Bird spending the winter down here, try some of the Muir Blanco Moonshine that you can get at the locations I have listed above. Also look for the new bourbon that will soon be introduced, they make great gifts to take back home.
David also mentioned to me he has eight beach front lots 20 by 50 meters in Xcalak for sale. So if you want to “get away from it all” in Xcalak, these lots are a great place to start. The lots are ready to build on now. Trust me from experience, if you want to disappear and want solitude, Xcalak is the place for it.
Thanks for reading,
Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina