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Pulque: The Traditional Mexican Fermented Alcoholic Drink

Two glasses of Pulque

What better than a margarita? No, not even a bloody Mary. We present to you the Pulque. And before you butcher the pronunciation, it’s pull-kay. It’s what the people of central Mexico have been drinking for almost 2000 years!

And before we get into it, we have to mention that it’s a beer-like beverage, so all of you who like to brew your own drinks, gather around!

History

Agarve Plant

Pulque is a weird drink since it’s made of the fermented sap extracted from agave. And it’s been around since the Mesoamerican period.

The first-ever depictions of Pulque come from the excavations at the Great Pyramid of Cholula. In 1969, a mural dedicated to the Pulque drinkers was painted around 1800 years ago.

Despite all those paintings, the history of Pulque is deeply rooted in myths and legends. Some tales say that the Aztec goddess of fertility’s grandmother wanted another husband for Mayahuel.

And so they became different branches of a tree so they could be together. That’s sweet and all, but some legends say it’s actually Mayahuel’s blood, so believe what you want here!

What does it taste like?

Pulque, or as some would call it – the underappreciated cousin of tequila, is very thick and almost gooey with a milky and sweet yeasty flavor.

But unlike tequila and mezcal, it has a very short shelf life, and the leftover batches are discarded at the end of the day, so drink up as much as you can!

You’ll know your Pulque is good when it tastes like a love child between beer, yogurt, and juice. It might be an acquired taste, but hey, it has survived thousands of years.

To make your own Pulque, cut a hollow into a ripe pina, the part of the agave plant where the sap flows. Once the sap is drained off using a wooden tube, let it ferment on its own from the yeasts present in the atmosphere, or you can add your own yeast.

The fermentation process is very delicate and more of an art. So you have to observe it, in case it goes sour.

This process is for authentic Pulque; however, this method might not be suitable for city dwellers. Here’s the modernized version for the city people.

Mexican Pulque Recipe

Two glasses of Pulque

Get a taste of Mexico's ancient drink with this modernised pulque recipe.

Prep Time 2 days
Cook Time 28 days
Total Time 30 days

Ingredients

  • Spring water or filtered water - 4 gallons
  • Dark agave nectar - 8 1/2 pounds
  • Dried coriander seeds - 1/2 oz
  • Champagne yeast - 1 pack

Instructions

    1. Before getting started, prime your champagne yeast 1-2 days beforehand.
    2. Then boil your pure and filtered or spring water.
    3. Once it reaches a boil, remove the brew pot from the heat and add pure agave syrup to it. You can even add crushed coriander seeds to the brew for a delightful floral aroma.
    4. Ferment it for two to three weeks and then wait for another week for the sweetness. The last week of fermentation is up to your taste buds.

As mentioned before, Pulque expires very fast, so “young” and “old” will be relative terms here. Young Pulque is sweeter and has an alcohol content of 2 to 4%, whereas older Pulque is a little sour with 5 to 7% alcohol content.

If you ever want to try an alcoholic drink with a different sort of kick, make sure Pulque is on your list! For a recipe that survived thousands of years, it sure is worth a try.

If you like Mexican food check out our absolute must-try dishes of Mexico!

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