Morocco is a Muslim country and Muslim's don't drink. You probably have heard that line many times. Well, it ain't true. In fact, Morocco has really good alcohol, but you have to know where and what to look for. Moroccans are also discreet about their drinking. You don't ever see drunk and loud Moroccans laying on the street harassing people. If you saw anybody in Morocco like that, it was probably us.
The Tipsy Gypsies would like to introduce you to the strongest and the most potent drink in Morocco called Mahia. Mahia is basically a moonshine made from figs or dates. Since Mahia is a moonshine, the best version (or possibly the worst) is the home made stuff. Yeah!!
The taste of Mahia can vary greatly. Since it's homemade, there are no "quality" checks. The Tipsy Gypsies drank some Mahia that was smooth and almost liquorish in taste but we also drank some nasty shit that tasted like rocket fuel. So it all depends on who you get it from. The only guarantee is that you will get very drunk and hopefully you wont die.
Where to find Mahia?
The most common scam in Morocco is when people on the street pretend to help you find whatever you are looking for. In Marrakesh these guys are yelling to the tourist : "Hey, the Big Square is this way". They are referring to Jemaa el Fna, which is the biggest and most touristy square in Marrakesh, surrounded by the souks. Btw, these guys are always lying and trying to confuse you and of course get money. Don't ever ask these people for help.
We wish there was a legit service that would point out where to find Mahia. We would pay for that service because finding Mahia is like looking for Waldo. But don't get discouraged!! You know that you want to get shit faced, and you just have to work for it. Plus, finding Mahia can be a fun and a crazy adventure (story coming soon in our blog ).
The tips below on how to find Mahia, are completely free of charge. We know how it is to be a desperate drunk in Morocco:
1. If you are visiting big cities like Marrakesh or Fez, you will most likely be staying in a riad. A riad is basically a small hotel or B&B. They are very cool, and you should not miss out on this experience. Anyway, we recommend that you become friendly with your riad manager/host or the hotel concierge. After a day or two of playing buddies it should be safe to ask them if they can help you to get some Mahia. In our experience, the host will be more than happy to make the proper arrangements and before you know it, there will be somebody knocking on the door with with a bottle of home brewed Mahia. The first and the best we found was from basically a Marakkaesh drug dealer. Since Mahia is a street or homemade alcohol, which always involves some risk, you want to make sure the source you are getting it from is good. We felt confident that the contact from our riad was solid.
2. Another option is to buy Mahia from the store. We know you guys are probably thinking that we are idiots for buying alcohol from street dealers. Yes we are, but the reality is that finding a liquor store in the city is harder that finding Mahia. Plus, the store brand that we got was very sweet and wasn't the best Mahia we've had. Look for the big supermarket "Carefur". They sell every liquor that you can imagine.
As always, in Morocco you gotta haggle for everything. We got our first 1/2 of a liter for 70 dirham (about $7-8). The guys wanted to sell it first for 200 dirham.
In the mountains, the price was 130 dirham ($13) for 1.5 liter after lots of negotiating. So that was even a better price but tasted terrible! Regardless, it got the job done and many parties were had.