Adulterated Alcohol Risk In Cancun

Following alcohol related lab tests done by COFEPRIS (Federal Commission for Protection Against Sanitary Risk), it has been determined that the Iberostar Paraiso del Mar is NOT serving any tainted alcohol to its guests.  This comes after allegations made by a Wisconsin family earlier this year that the resort had given their 22 yr. old daughter adulterated alcohol which resulted in her subsequent death.

While many visitors to Mexico may complain at some point that their drink tastes “off”, or “watered down”, there are many possible causes to this sort of complaint including “well drinks” made with local booze (different distillation process), different mixers used in drinks (even Mexican Coca Cola can taste different than American made Coca Cola), lesser quality alcohol poured into top-shelf bottles (rarely, but it does happen unfortunately), and the literal use of added water to alcohol bottles (again, it does happen on rare occasions).  Then there is the possibility of tainted alcohol–according to a 2017 report by COFEPRIS, more than 1.4 million gallons of adulterated alcohol have been confiscated in Mexico since 2010 (including hotels, restaurants, entertainment areas, etc.).

So, while it is extremely unlikely that your drink will contain tainted booze, how to protect yourself??  Here are some suggestions–if you have any, please let us all know since this is a hot topic right now:

  • don’t allow the bartender to choose your alcohol–if you do not stipulate you’d like Bacardi rum or Grey Goose vodka, there are many resorts which will use locally made alcohol, even more expensive or well known resorts.  No more “well drinks”.
  • watch the bartender make your drink where you will be more assured the proper alcohol is being used.  This may cause some inconvenience and standing in line, but there will be less doubt in your mind about what’s in your drink.
  • make friends with a couple of bartenders you like at the resort.  Give them a healthy tip at first and smaller tips throughout your stay–not only will they get to know your faves but they will give you generous pours with the booze you want.
  • watch other guests who are drinking in the same area you are.  Anything “funny” going on in terms of their behaviors?  More than a normal amount of people being wheeled away in wheelchairs due to drunkenness?  (Expect at least one during your visit, especially in the late afternoon around the pool area).  If anything looks out of the ordinary, pick a different bar.
  • going out for the evening?  Drink before you go and cab it with friends.  Maybe not as much fun overall, but at least you won’t have to worry whether your drink will put you out cold or in a hospital.

While these suggestions will not totally prevent the possibility of getting your hands on a tainted drink, they may cut down on the chance you may come across one.  Also, since Mexican health organizations are watching this more closely, resorts may be more likely now to only order booze they are certain about instead of the cheapest they can find.

What do you think?

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