Let's Talk About Pulque

The different names of pulque

- cara blanca, tlachicotón, neutre, octli -

Pulque is the outcome of the natural fermentation process of the agave sap (aguamiel). The aguamiel or honey-water is the liquid that comes out of the plant when carving out its trunk (mezontete) and scraping its centre to turn it into a bowl-like shape. A few hours after scraping it, the Maguey "cries" out the aguamiel (agave sap), the plant's sacred juice.

Those who scrape the Maguey are called Tlachiqueros. They scrape each plant two to three times a day. The plant gives away its life juice (agave sap) for only 6 months. The aguamiel begins to naturally ferment after a few hours of being extracted and eventually becomes our delicious, nutritious ancestral drink that we call Pulque.

Once a Tlachiquero begins scraping the Maguey plant, it should only be scraped by the Tlachiquero himself or someone from his immediate family. Otherwise, the plant "resents" the difference and stops secreting agave sap. This is due to an intimate relationship established between the Tlachiquero and the Maguey plant at the time of removing its core (quiote).

Pulque does not have a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) because it has been part of several cultures in most of the central region of Mexico. The oldest archaeological finds have been in cold and arid cactus areas such as Puebla, the city of Tehuacán, and the town of Cholula.

El Pulque in pre-Hispanic times

Pulque was an exclusive drink for the elderly and priests during pre-Hispanic times. The rest of the population were allowed to drink pulque only at certain celebrations like the harvest fest in Tlahuanca.

Pulque was allowed to be consumed in certain types of ceremonies, but never in a casual context. For example, children were given pulque during the festival where they got their ears and nose pierced.

In the Ñañú culture, children drink pulque from a very young age. They drink a more tender pulque, very similar to the pulque we produce. The tender pulque is the one with the lowest alcohol volume which brings health benefits to our body due to its organoleptic properties and its vast microbiome; rich in probiotics, prebiotics and wild yeasts. It is an excellent ingredient for baking bread or cakes.

The Stewardship of Pulque

The pulque stewards are people who are in charge of spreading out the pulque culture within Mexico as well as abroad, and sharing the knowledge of the mythology that revolves around it. They have the great fortune of trying all the different types of pulque around the world.

The stewards are in charge of organizing pulque congresses in Mexico at several universities. They also make the pulque's pilgrimage to the Basilica Church in Mexico City, but instead of carrying catholic saints, they carry the image of Mayahuel, the goddess of pulque for the Mexica's culture, in the central highlands.