As with most things in life, you get what you pay for. Cheaper tequilas are categorised as “blanco” (or silver) and are pretty much bottled straight from the still. Crisp and often dry in taste, these tequilas are perfect for cocktails, but are a little harsh to be enjoyed on their own or over ice. In contrast, “reposado” tequilas have been aged in oak barrels from two months up to 11 months and “anejo” tequilas have been matured for at least one year, making them much smoother, more complex drinks.
One year might not seem like a long time to age a spirit, especially if you are used to drinking Scotch whisky or Cognac, but remember that tequila ages up to four times faster because of Mexico’s hot and humid climate. Tequila just wouldn’t benefit from being aged as long as some malt whiskies or XO cognacs, and so much of the liquid would have evaporated it wouldn’t make much commercial sense either.
A word of warning if you are tempted to buy a bottle of tequila at Guadalajara international. If you are transiting at a US airport en route to your final destination, you will need to place the bottles into your checked luggage when switching flights. Otherwise, your precious bottle of añejo tequila will be confiscated by the TSA.
Away from the Dufry stores, gifts and souvenirs are better handled by the numerous, locally run outlets such as ‘Airport Market’ and ‘Cenca News & Gifts’ which are located throughout the international terminal. Colourfully painted ceramics, including Day-of-the-Dead-style skulls are common items, as are wooden toys, sombrero hats, decorated lace shawls, printed t-shirts, wicker baskets and lanterns. Prices are reasonable, but if you are paying in cash expect a long wait as the staff may go walkabout in search for change.
The Aztecs and Mayans famously discovered the potential of the cacao bean centuries ago, originally consuming chocolate as rich drink, but sadly little of this culture is reflected in Guadalajara airport’s confectionery offer. Instead, travellers will be hard-pressed to find any Mexican chocolate at all, but what is sold in abundance and well-worth buying is ‘fruta cristalizada’ or candied fruit, which comes in all shapes and sizes. Another local foodie product, Mexican vanilla extract, is also sold widely at reasonable prices.
Branded boutiques are arguably in short supply at Guadalajara international, but the airport does at least boast a Salvatore Ferragamo outlet, and a Lacoste store. Also worth visiting, Kafri de Mexico does a nice line in women’s silver jewellery, including bracelets, necklaces, rings and even watches (see www.kafridemexico.com)
. There are also local retailers selling branded sunglasses, shoes, accessories and handbags.
For a country with such a varied and well-known cuisine, the food offer at Guadalajara international is a real let down. Dominated by US chains such as Starbuck’s, Chili’s Too and Henry J. Beans, there is only one sit-down restaurant offering Mexican fare.
Last but not least, if you need to de-stress before catching your flight, there is a Sherpa massage parlour at the airport, which is open daily from 07.00 hours to 21.00 hours, which offers a range of 10-15-minute treatments such as facials, back massages and pedicures. See www.sherpamasaje.com
for more details.