Tuesday, September 28, 2021

History of pulque

Pulque is probably the oldest and most traditional Mexican alcoholic beverage, prepared, and consumed since pre-Hispanic times. Pulque is a traditional Mexican alcoholic beverage produced from the fermentation of the fresh sap known as aguamiel (mead) extracted from several species of Agave (maguey) plants that grow in the Central Mexico plateau.

In the state of Puebla’s Tehuacán Valley the maguey plant was already being cultivated in the year 6 500 BC. It is highly probable that ancient Otomíes were the first to prepare pulque toward the year 2000 BC, inheriting the elaboration process to almost all cultures of the central Mexican.

Pulque has served as a sacred beverage during religious ritual, is heralded as a nutritionally-rich supplement, and is a source of cultural pride and identity. Modern production of pulque has remained nearly identical to production during pre-Hispanic times.

Archeological evidence indicates that hunters and gatherers used maguey thousands of years ago. It was reported that the use of ceramic vessels to contain pulque in the locality of La Ventilla around 200–550 AD, at the height of Teotihuacan’s culture.

The ancient Aztecs called it metoctli or agave wine as well as iztacoctlli or white wine: they referred to the spoiled beverage with unpleasant odor and flavor as poliuhquioctli, so it is probably from this last term that the word pulque was adopted by the Spaniards to designate the freshly produced beverage.

During the height of the Aztec culture, pulque was produced and consumed preponderantly in religious and sacred rituals. It was restricted to the common citizens, with strict rules limiting its consumption. Excessive consumption was severely punished, in some cases including the capital punishment, even for priests.

After the consolidation of Spanish colonialism, pulque was relegated to the background because it was said that, since it was an intoxicant, the indigenous used it to get drunk and forget their circumstances, which bordered on slavery.
History of pulque

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