Pancho Villa was one of the most important figures of the Mexican Revolution, his imposing role both on and off the battlefield made him a model of the “macho mexicano”, a man whose confidence and frankness exuded from every pore, with extraordinary virility.
A man who could not be stared down, had more than one woman, and only drank straight alcohol. This archetype was later adopted by Hollywood to define the villains in cowboy movies: southern men, grumpy, violent, brave, and with a thick mustache.
Pancho Villa and Alcohol
However, Pancho Villa was not as “macho” as portrayed, he had a quite different side to him. To begin with, Villa, like many of his revolutionary comrades, abhorred alcoholic beverages, as he believed that these drinks clouded reason and were responsible for thousands of misunderstandings, poverty, and hundreds of terrible decisions in human history, besides not enjoying their taste at all, to the point that he said drinking a beer was comparable to “drinking urine”. It is important to remember that when Villa was governor in Chihuahua, he ordered the closure of 50 establishments that sold alcohol and, in compensation, built the same number of schools.
It is said that this excessive hatred for alcohol led him to prohibit all members of his troops from consuming it and to destroy bars to enforce his own prohibition at gunpoint, in addition to killing anyone who attempted to disobey him. However, Villa did enjoy a special drink to celebrate his victories or share a conversation with his friends, but if it wasn’t alcohol, what did Pancho Villa drink on these special occasions?
Pancho Villa and his Obsession with Strawberry Milkshakes
That’s right, Pancho Villa always chose his favorite drink: strawberry milkshakes or smoothies. He discovered this “exotic” and sweet drink on his frequent trips to the United States and liked it so much that he planned trips to the border cities of El Paso and San Antonio in Texas just to visit soda fountains and ice cream shops where they made their delicious strawberry milkshakes.
There is even a strong rumor that suggests that many bars and taverns started including strawberry milkshakes on their menus as a preventive measure in case the Centauro del Norte passed through their town, he would think twice before destroying a place that served them.
It is also known of Villa’s fascination with ice cream, as can be seen in a photograph where he appears in an ice cream parlor in El Paso, Texas with a group of friends. In this ice cream parlor, called Confitería Elite, Villa always ordered “baseball balls”; ice cream balls covered in chocolate with toasted peanuts, they were sold for 10 cents and he usually accompanied them with a strawberry soda.
In May 1911, the celebrated El Paso photographer, Otis Aultman, took the famous photograph of Pancho Villa and Pascual Orozco sitting rigidly next to each other at the Confitería Elite. This was the last photograph taken of the two leaders together. The current Buckler building, which housed the Confitería Elite, was built in 1910.