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Food & Drinks

Pulque, ‘the drink of the Gods’

Pulque is one of the most emblematic and popular drinks in Mexico; in its traditional form, has 8.0 alcohol degrees. The origins of pulque date back to important ceremonies of pre-Hispanic civilizations, and although it is a drink that remains to this day.

Several times a year, the Aztecs celebrated Ometochtli, one of the many deities within their mythology. The funny thing is that they did not do it either with offerings or with human sacrifices, but by allowing both children and adults to get drunk with a striking white liquid obtained from maguey, drink of the gods for them, for us: pulque.

This traditional drink from the time of the Mexicas and to the present day became one of the emblematic Mexican beverages, this was until it was displaced first by tequila. Then by mezcal, both also obtained from maguey but by process of distillation and not fermentation.

One of the legends about the origin of the maguey where the pulque comes from is a bit scary since it turns out that Mayahuel was a young woman who lived with her grandmother, whom the god Quetzalcoatl agreed to come down to earth to love each other. Hence, they became each one a branch of a forked tree.

The grandmother rode in anger, and along with other women, went down to the ground to look for the granddaughter, as the tree approached broke and Mayahuel was exposed. The angry grandmother shredded the branch and left them there to be devoured.

Instead, Quetzalcoatl’s branch was left without damage; when the women moved away, the loving god took the remains of his Young beloved and buried them. From it sprouted the plant of the maguey, and this is how Mayahuel became a goddess.

The pulque, as with all alcoholic beverages, requires a specific process of elaboration. For a start, the maguey plant must be mature, is removed from the heart, and from there, you go by scraping the leaves to get a delicious mead that a “tlachiquero” is in charge of sucking through an acocote twice a day. After that, they merge in a tinacal for your fermentation.

At the origins of pulque, it was also used as a supplement or dietary supplement because its chemical composition contains proteins, carbohydrates, and vitamins that make it a good nutrition source.

According to history and tradition, pulque has specific properties; for example, it is suitable for gastrointestinal diseases, loss of appetite, weakness, and kidney problems. The women of the Mazahua culture (Mexico State) used to drink it to increase their milk production and raise its quality when breastfeeding. In the state of Hidalgo, women used to wean their children by wetting a finger in pulque and giving them instead of the breast to get them used to.

In these and other parts of the country, where water is scarce or not potable, pulque becomes the favorite drink to quench thirst, thus achieving that at the end of the day, there are many people in a state of intoxication.

Up to fifteen microorganisms have been found in the pulque between yeasts and lactobacilli to help gastrointestinal ailments. Otherwise, its virtues have not been proven scientifically.

In the same way as fortunately, like the mezcal, the pulque has been revalued by the new generations taking it out of oblivion and away from the stigma of poverty that the Spanish conquistadors and their descendants endowed it, to place it in the privileged place it deserves. Pulque traditional Mexican drink is the only one that retains an intact extraction method for more than two thousand five hundred years.

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