.The Hennchata: How Hennessy-spiked Horchata Became a Drink Sensation

Every decade has its cocktail fashions. The ’50s brought Irish coffees to the U.S., and, in the’60s, pink squirrels ran wild. Harvey Wallbangers and tequila sunrises raged in the ’70s and in the ’80s we had sex on the beach. The ’90s brought mojitos stateside and helped kick off the labor-intensive craft cocktail craze. The Moscow Mule returned to claim signature drink status in the present era.
While many drink pandemics originate in foreign lands, in decades past or in the ambitious, calculating minds of corporate brand marketers, every once in a while a humble entrepreneur contributes a libation to contemporary cocktail culture. Jorge Sanchez was recovering from a partnership implosion in Campbell when he took over Chacho’s, a dive on downtown San Jose’s San Fernando Street.
His luck turned with the creation of the Hennchata, a simple mix of traditional Latin American rice drink with Hennessy. And lest anyone question the addition of brandy from the Cognac region to an Aztec agua fresca, just remember that many people think mariachi music came from the French too, though no one would ever hire a guy named Pierre to play trumpet at a bar mitzvah.
Not only did Mexico save uniformed horn bands from extinction after the Maximilian Affair, its national drink has rescued French brandy from becoming a Coke mixer promoted in bad hip-hop songs. The enabling technology that makes a Hennchata more than just another mixed drink is an L-shaped plastic clip that clamps onto the rim of a thick-walled, stemmed chavela glass. The patented device holds an upside-down airline bottle of liquor in place, with the alcohol suspended by gravity-defying laws of physics.


  1. Hi Dan, I have called Metro 5 times now to get the mag delivered to the brand new box in front of the Payne Ave. Post Office to no avail. The metro box is all shiny but no metro inside. Let’s make that happen!

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