A variety of Mexican beverages

When most people think of Mexican cuisine they don't picture beverages to go with it. But in all cultures, the drink paired with the food is an important part of the entire experience. Imagine having a fine red snapper prepared Mexican style for dinner, then washing it down with orange juice or milk. Healthy, but somehow it just doesn't fit.

Fortunately, there is a huge array of tasty, healthy Mexican beverages to go with every meal.

Chocolate is popular in Mexican dishes, or even as a dessert bar. But it's more often consumed in the form of a hot chocolate drink. Mexican chocolate tends to be more granular and bitter than that from other countries. That makes it a perfect ingredient for a breakfast beverage. Melt the chocolate, add a bit of sugar to taste, and voila!

Of course, beer is enjoyed south of the border, where it is called cerveza. And Mexican breweries are second to none in producing some truly fine beers. They make a fine accompaniment to a lunch composed of burritos. But to make a great Mexican drink, try a Michelada. This drink is a mixture of beer, tabasco sauce, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and lime. Wow!

Fruit juice or fruit flavored water are popular beverages in Mexico.

But you can also enjoy a great fruit drink with that fine frittata for lunch. Agua fresca -a Mexican cooler- comes in a variety of flavors such as guava, pineapple or mango. The agua de tamarindo is a great favorite down Mexico way, made from the tamarind. For something even lighter try the agua de Jamaica made from the Hibiscus flower.

Naturally, that pre-dinner drink can quite rightly consist of a traditional margarita. Made from fine tequila and Mexican Controy, you'll be ready for a hearty meal after one of these. If you prefer your tequila straight, that's fine, too. Don't forget the lime, though.

After dinner you'll just have to have a Mexican coffee. Select some of your finest beans and brew the coffee dark. Then liven it up with a couple of ounces of tequila, Kahlua and brandy. For a real taste treat, add the same amount of Rompope, a kind of vanilla Mexican liqueur. Or, for something a little more straightforward, just try a bit of the Rompope all on its own.

Between beer for lunch, a pre-dinner margarita and an after-dinner Mexican coffee you might just be ready for a good night's sleep. But the next morning could be a bit dicey. So, maybe you better have some of that milk after all. Have it Mexican style in the form of a good horchata.

Horchata is a traditional Mexican drink made from rice, water, cinnamon, almonds and sugar. But milk is often added as well. It is reputed to be good for hangovers. Even if it's not, the taste will help you forget your headache!