Move over Mezcal and Tequila, Pulque is making a comeback! Pulque is a Mexican fermented alcoholic drink made from the sap of the maguey plant. Like Mezcal it was a working man’s drink. Like many things, Pulque is experiencing a revival, and finds itself now trending all over the world, not just Mexico. The revival of this drink is partly due to the increasing popularity of Mexican food, and also the desire for Mixologists to find unique and vintage alcohol that they can contemporize.
Like Tequila, Pulque is deeply rooted in Mexican culture. But this fermented alcohol is older than tequila and stronger than beer. It is a celebrated alcoholic drink made from the agave plant, and in most cases a mixture of up to six agave plant types. Where tequila or Mezcal are distilled from the agave plant, tequila distilled specifically from blue agave, Pulque is fermented. The result is a strong somewhat cloudy and sweet liquid similar to coconut water in texture and color.
In the 1900’s Pulque was served in a Pulqueria, bars that still exist in older parts of Mexico and Mexico City today. Like the cantina it was a place for men to unwind after work, eat botanas (small and free appetizers) and escape reality for a drink or two.
But the history of Pulque goes back over a 1000 years. There is the goddess of the maguey plant, named Mayahuel. Pulque has a privileged place in mythology, religious rituals and the Mesoamerican economy. After the Spanish Conquest, the consumption and fermentation of pulque became limited. In 1672, the Spanish decided that only 36 Pulquerias were allowed in Mexico City. In the 1800’s pulque production began to surface again after Independence and was the greatest source of tax revenue in the country. By 1960 the consumption and production of Pulque in Mexico was at a stand still and declining. It has not been until 2010 that the revival of Pulque began both in Mexico and other countries.
Curious about this age old drink that has made Mexican history? You can try pulque in Playa del Carmen at La Perla Pixan Cuisine on 34th Street between 5th and 10th Avenue. Be curious, give it a try!