Xtabentun is a yucatecan liqueur that is flavoured with honey that bees gathered from the xtabentun flower. There are two versions of this liqueur: the original mayan recipe, and the recipe that was adapted by Spaniards to better suit their tastes. The Spanish version (the only version I have had the chance to try) contains xtabentun honey distilled with rum and anise. The flavour is similar to oversweet Sambuca or Ouzo, but with an aftertaste that is unmistakeably honey. It's also pretty strong, it weighs in at 30% alcohol. (That's pretty high for a liqueur)

Apparently there is a Mayan legend that speaks of a woman named Xkeban who was a little too free and open with her affections, but who was also known for her great compassion. When she died she turned into a tiny white flower that grows on a vine, and that has an intoxicating nectar. (You would probably think they would have named the flower after her, but no, the word "xtabentun" means vines growing on stone. The information that I have indicates that "Xkeban" means "sinner")

If you are travelling to the Mayan Riviera or any part of the Yucatan, I highly recommend trying this liqueur and possibly buying some to take home. It is delicious in coffee and is the base for Mayan coffee...a sort of flaming performance thing. Lots of hotels use this liqueur as a free gift for honeymooners.

vruba reminded me: Xtabentun is a Mayan word, and in Mayan the letter "X" is pronounced like "sh" in english. So, Xel Ha is pronouced "Shell Ha" and Xtabentun is pronounced "ish-ta-ben-toon"

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