Machaquito may just change your drinking habits! When I think of aniseed flavoured alcoholic drinks, Pernod springs to mind, and some of those memories are not too pleasant! Add in the occasional experiment with ouzo in Greece or raki in Turkey, and it’s not something I thought I would be drinking ever again. Step forward Machaquito, in the small Andalusian town of Rute, to make me think again.
Visiting the anis liqueur factory was a very pleasant surprise. It’s a nice walk through the town from the market square just to get there. If you don’t like uphill climbs then you might want to drive the long way round. The company have been producing this delicious drink since 1860, although only in an official capacity since 1876. Once inside you can see how it has been produced and bottled throughout the years. It is an interesting journey through the years and all explained in crystal clear Spanish, although I was assured that enough English is spoken should you need it.
After the educational part comes a different learning experience – the tasting! Did you know that there are sweet and dry varieties, just like wine. The sweet one really was way too sweet for my delicate palette. I even got to try the acorn anis which has a beautiful flavour but I just couldn’t see when I might sit down to drink it. The more adventurous might even go for the anis steeped in herbs, but I was certain I wouldn’t like it. I ended up buying a small bottle of dry anis, and I look forward to trying it again sometime soon.
Much of the imagery revolves around bullfighting. Rafael González Madrid “Machaquito” was a bullfighter born in Cordoba in 1880. According to the history section of the website, his nickname was first used as the brand name in 1892. He would only have been 12 at the time, so somebody’s dates must be wrong! Oh well, it’s a nice story anyway!!
Nearby is the Anis Museum, but its irregular opening hours meant I wasn’t able to get inside. I can’t imagine there would be anything particularly different in there anyway, so I highly recommend you pay the Machaquito boys a visit instead and buy a small souvenir in lieu of paying an entry fee.