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Who makes the best Mexikaner shot in Berlin?

The Mexikaner shot is a Berlin classic. Everyone knows this spicy, savoury mini-bloody Mary, but which bar makes the best?

Photo: Makar Artemev

It’s spicy, it’s savoury, it’s strong – it’s a classic German shot. The Mexikaner is a thick, peppery tomato-based concoction reminiscent of a baby Bloody Mary.

The drink hails from Hamburg, created in 1987 by bartender Mike Coloni at the Steppenwolf bar in the St Pauli district. The recipe was improvised to solve a stock problem but became so popular that it was turned into a regular offering. Dubbed ‘Mexikaner’ by a fan who found it reminiscent of Mexico, it thrived in the punk and dive bar scene in Hamburg and quickly spread throughout Germany – going down especially easy in bohemian Berlin.

After some intrepid research, we found five of Berlin’s best versions.

The one with the richest tomato flavour

Tucked deep into one of the Höfe on Mehringdamm, Clash is a classic Berlin rock bar that has been going strong for almost 20 years – which is definitely enough time to work on a good Mexikaner recipe. Their version has the boldest tomato flavour. It has a light spice and is served well-chilled. It’s refreshing and one that could be easily drunk throughout the night. 

Tomato flavour: 🍅🍅🍅🍅🍅

Spice level: 🌶🌶

  • Clash, Gneisenaustr. 2A, Kreuzberg, 2€
Trinkteufel Photo: Imago / F. Anthea Schaap

The spicy one

One of Berlin’s classic Kneipen. With its graffitied walls and fair prices, this bar is steeped in the city’s history. The Mexikaner – which you can also get for free if you buy a T-shirt! – is thick and peppery, with a generous dash of Tabasco. Served with a welcome lack of pretension, this authentic take is exactly how it should be done.

Tomato flavour: 🍅🍅🍅🍅

Spice level:🌶🌶🌶🌶🌶

  • Trinkteufel, Naunynstr. 60, Kreuzberg, 2€

The one for special occasions

Photo: Makar Artemev

This cafe is an unexpected wild card. Inspired by their proximity to Görlitzer Park, the owners created their homemade Mexikaner recipe to sell to the crowds celebrating May Day in the area. It then became part of their Berlin Feiertag (public holiday) ritual before also being made available on weekends.

Their Mexikaner has a well-rounded tomato flavour with a spice that builds slowly. One of the spices used is Tajín, a chilli-lime salt popular in Mexico. The owners themselves love spice and will gladly add more to the mix upon request.

Tomato flavour: 🍅🍅🍅🍅

Spice level: 🌶🌶🌶🌶

  • The Boat Kaffee, Falckensteinstr. 33, Kreuzberg, 1.50€
The Boat Kaffee Image Courtesy of: theboatkaffee

The one with a twist

This small live music venue has an MTV Unplugged vibe. With its wall of fame honouring some of their favourite artists and small stage complete with an ‘On Air’ light, it’s clear the owners live for music. Their Mexikaner is made with white tequila, which, combined with the tomato sangria, gives the shot a sharp, crisp flavour.

Tomato flavour: 🍅🍅

Spice level: 🌶🌶🌶

  • Artliners Berlin, Gärtnerstr. 23, Friedrichshain, 2€

The artisanal one

Photo: Makar Artemev

Slip through the door off bustling Greifswalder Str and find yourself in the air conditioned, luxe decor of this cool cocktail bar. This Mexikaner is a unique take on the classic. It forgoes both Korn and tomato juice, using mezcal and a house-made clarified tomato water reduction instead. This combination gives the shot a pale, cloudy hue. It has a light tomato flavour, which is well-balanced with spice and lime. It’s not officially on the menu, so just ask the bartender for their “blonde Mexikaner”.

Tomato flavour: 🍅

Spice level: 🌶🌶

  • Dream Baby Dream, Greifswalder Str. 218, Prenzlauer Berg, 4€

How to make a traditional Mexikaner

Photo: mixicology.eu

Simply take these ingredients, put them all into a big enough container, mix and serve.

  • 1 ½ L Tomato juice
  • ½ L Sangrita Picante
  • 0.7 L Korn (or vodka)
  • 1 tbsp Pepper
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 3 cl Tabasco