Posted by: Josey | August 5, 2008

The Cozumel Palace, Mexico: A Great Debate

by Josey Miller

I thought the idea of a sommelier was to impress the clientele with extensive oeno-wisdom… and to gouge them on the up-sell.

So, why oh why, would there be a sommelier at a resort where bottles of wine are included in the price of admission?

Our first night at dinner, we met the Cozumel Palace sommelier, or, as I called him, El Rey del Vino. (I think he had a real name. I think it was Luis.) Every night he purposefully made his rounds from table to table, jovially guiding each couple and family on their beverage selections.

On the final afternoon of our week-long vacation, I wasn’t ready to call it a night when the chill set in on the pool deck. So Jeff and I jumped in the bath-temperature water and made our way to the swim-up bar for some pre-dinner drinks. (The swim-up bar, ubiquitous at all-inclusives, is, by the way, the primary reason I enjoy this type of resort.)

In true Mexican spirit we started with tequila and, with our first shot, the bartender coached us to chant: “Arriba! Al bajo! Al dentro! Al centro!” (Boy, we made him sorry for teaching us that. I don’t think he quite anticipated we’d need it so many times.) Ultimately we switched to beer and began a debate of which is the better beer, Bud or Tecate―in this case, also known as “the lesser of two evils.” In true Mexican spirit, I said Tecate. Mr. America Jeff said Bud.

At that moment, we saw the sommelier between tables at the patio restaurant a few feet away. I shouted:

“Rey del Vino!”

“Sí, amiga!”

“Which is the better beer, Bud? Or Tecate?”

He stopped to think for a moment.


“…But wine with dinner!”



  1. Did you go on all these trips this summer?! or are some of these catch up posts?
    You travel so much!

  2. I wish–it would have been quite a summer! I do travel whenever I can, but I visited Cozumel in December. I just happened to remember the story in August. Thank you for your comment, whoever you are!

  3. Ah… now I’m slightly less jealous! :) Are all of these trips spread out over time?
    Love your writing and as someone who enjoys travel (but now I have a baby and stay closer to home) I’m so glad I found your blog!

  4. Well, thank you and I’m so glad you found it, as well! Yes, the trips are spread out over time–and you’ll notice that a lot of it takes place in NYC, which is where I’m based. In what part of the country do you live? Maybe I’ve been there and can write about it… or, better yet, maybe you can share your stories here, too. :)

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