More about bitters. I’ll keep this brief, I promise.
The advice to new expats is to go with the flow, eat and drink like the locals, and keep things simple. Abandon your old ways and adapt to life as it is lived in Yucatán.
As you can see on the Facebook forums, this is easier said than done. We all want our old foods and drinks. Familiar brand names comfort us. Aunt Jemima syrup, Twizzlers and Pringles are prized possessions. We packed Triscuits for our neighbors.
So don’t judge me too harshly if I shun Montejo beer in favor of the Rob Roy, an American cocktail that requires Scotch, with a splash of vermouth and a shake or two of bitters. I’ve been documenting my search all along.
Of course, the restaurant scene in the Centro has evolved quickly in the last few years, especially in Santa Lucia where La Tradición and Chaya Maya and La Tratto expanded, and a wonderful Oaxacan restaurant named Apoala opened. And it’s Apoala that figured out that some people like actual cocktails before dinner. Or after, or during, whatever.
Paul had surprised me by sneaking down a tiny bottle of bitters. He presented it over dinner on Apoala’s terrace. Turns out, the cocktail bar there had me covered all along. So far, only this bar and the restaurant at the Hyatt have produced bitters in Mérida. Progress.
But the extensive cocktail menu at Apoala didn’t list any kind of Scotch-based cocktails. They had all the ingredients to make a Rob Roy (I know because I bellied up to the service bar and inspected the shelves) but they hadn’t heard of Rob Roys or Manhattans (the Bourbon equivalent). I explained to the waiter how to make one, and they delivered a perfect specimen! Like they had been making them all along.
I spoke with restaurant manager Arni, and he said they would add Rob Roys to the menu. Will he, really? I may have to go back soon to remind him. But if you see Rob Roys on the menu, it’s because of me, the mover and shaker of the local cocktail scene.