The sought-after mineral water from Monterrey, Mexico with limited distribution north of the border is not-so-secretly available, well, almost everywhere.
Texans take Topo Chico, that bright, dry and bracingly effervescent mineral water from Mexico that's been around since the 1800s, largely for granted.
It's a staple at stores all over the Lone Star State. You can buy it cheap in gas stations in the middle of the desert in, say, Arizona. In recent years, baristas and mixologists throughout that lucky part of the country have come to discover just how well the relatively simple water with the distinctive, mineral taste—pairs with, well, everything. The rest of the country? Too often out of luck, for the most part.
E-commerce to the rescue! There's a poorly-kept secret that those Topo Chico fanatics unfortunate enough to find themselves living far from the Mexican company's spiritual home (at the base of an iconic mountain near Monterrey) are slowly wising up to. You can order it from Walmart. And it's really easy.
Well, not just Walmart—Amazon Fresh, sites like Jet.com, even that other great Texas favorite, the H-E-B supermarket chain, will in most cases ship the water straight to you. Across the board, the prices aren't too out of line with what you'll see in nicer supermarkets within the main distribution network. Walmart, however, typically has the best selection and the best deal on shipping: It's free when you schedule an in-store pickup, or when you spend above $35.
Spending that much on Topo Chico will surely keep you stocked up for a while—a 1.5 liter bottle costs $2.68 before tax at Walmart; H-E-B charges just $1.59, but the addition of a rather significant shipping charge makes Walmart a better value for repeat use. (You can, however, get free shipping on your first H-E-B order up to a value of $25, which would about cover the cost of shipping to, say, New York.) Both retailers offer a good range of sizes (even a couple of flavors) and a choice of glass or plastic. Amazon Fresh, on the other hand, sticks to the classic format—the 12 oz. glass bottle, sold for $1.49 each.
What to do with all that water, when it arrives? Top bartenders in Texas—Alba Huerta at Julep, in Houston, for example—are known to work Topo Chico, named for the mountain near Monterrey that looks down on the springs where the water comes from, into cocktails, while coffee drinkers in Austin will see it offered as a water back, alongside their morning espresso. Or, you know, you could also just drink it. (The best pairing of all, really, is a very hot day.)