Originally published on Delish.com
Agwa de Bolivia Coca Leaf Liquor
Yes, we're talking about that kind of coca leaf. And, yes, it is apparently legal. According to their story, to make the "original and only" coca leaf liquor, the coca leaves are picked in Bolivia, then are taken out of the country under armed guard and sent to Amsterdam, where the liquor is produced. The makers say that all traces of the cocaine alkaloid are removed, allowing the product to be approved by the E.U. Narcotics Commission, the FDA, and Homeland Security.
The liqueur has a syrupy and pleasantly herbal/medicinal taste. Some of our testers included people who do not drink alcohol often and said this was something they'd actually choose to drink again. And it does have a punch: The alkaloids in the coca leaf produce what they call an "oxygen buzz," which amounts to a tingly and numb sensation in the mouth. The makers recommend drinking Agwa with lime, which changes the pH in your mouth and activates the buzz. The drink is 60 proof (30% alcohol), contains guarana and ginseng, and is a bright, artificial green.
Would we purchase it again? Probably, though more likely if we were still in college (the marketing and presentation clearly skew toward the university/frat demographic). Still, it's a pleasant drink and certainly a conversation starter.
Suggested retail: Around $32 for a 750-ml bottle. Find distributors via the Agwa de Bolivia website.
Magic Mary Bloody Mary Mix
In a group of testers divided between those who love Blood Marys and those who don't, everyone agreed that Magic Mary is delicious. We tried the mix on its own, straight out of the bottle, and chilled, mixed with vodka. Magic Mary can easily stand on its own as a sauce: One tester wished she had a shrimp to dip into it right then. Another wanted to use it to marinate a steak. It did just as well with booze over ice.
Magic Mary's flavor is full-bodied, well balanced, and complex. Best of all, it has a slow, building heat. (The mix is made by Zydeco Spice Company, a Louisiana outfit that also produces pepper sauces and spice blends.) The ingredient list is long, but natural, including vegetable juice (a blend of tomato, carrot, beet, parsley, lettuce, spinach, and watercress), vinegar, molasses, horseradish, and tamarind. [Note to those with allergies or dietary restrictions: It also contains dehydrated eggs and fish (anchovies).]
We'd definitely purchase Magic Mary again, even those among us who wouldn't actually drink it in a adult beverage. (Shrimp cocktail time!)
Available for purchase at retailers in Texas and Louisiana, or order online for nationwide shipping via the Zydeco Spice website.