The bartending and tequila communities lost one another legend last weekend. Don Javier Delgado Corona, simply Don Javier to friends, died in his home of Jalisco after 95 years of life well lived.
For decades, Don Javier entertained the faithful at La Capilla, the celebrated bar that he owned and tended. Billed as the oldest bar in Tequila, La Capilla was a simple adobo cantina, but Javier’s immense skillset propelled the establishment to international fame and a spot on the World’s 50 Best list.
Back in 1961, Javier invented the wildly popular Batanga. A riff on the Cuba Libre, the Batanga is a mixed drink comprised of tequila blanco, lime, ice, and a salted rim. At La Capilla, the drink is stirred with the bar’s fruit knife which the owner described as “seasoned.” Don Javier is also often credited as the creator of the Paloma; while there is some dispute around the cocktail’s provenance, his role in popularizing the drink is indisputable.
La Capilla also boasts a tremendous selection of agave spirits. However, it was the intangibles, namely Don Javier’s welcoming personality and mastery of service that earned the bar so many accolades.
in the early years, La Capilla was essentially a neighborhood bar where Javier would entertain his friends. With time, most of those regulars passed away, but as the bar grew in fame, it became a mecca for bartenders and agave lover. Don Javier embraced his new role, always happy to spend an evening chatting with a group of pilgrims. The man embodied hospitality.
Don Javier Delgado Corona is survived by a living family, including his son and grandson, both of whom carried on his tradition, tending bar at La Capilla.