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Thread: Canned Pulque

  1. #11
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    Default Agreed

    Quote Originally Posted by xtopher View Post

    I would definitely not recommend canned pulque to anybody, since part of what makes pulque so strange (and delicious, in my opinion) is the fact that it normally isn't done fermenting when you drink it. ...

    The general consensus seems to be that pulque should be consumed within one or two days of its production, so I can't imagine that canned pulque would compare with the real thing...
    I agree that nothing in a can should even be called pulque. I am not a big fan of the drink myself, but give it it's due as a unique and culturally important beverage.

    As to the purpose of pulque...it seems difficult to me to distinguish the buzz imparted by alcohol from its use in religious ceremonies (near universal, until Islam). Do we really think that the ancients didn't drink wine/beer/pulque and what-have-you to be closer to The Divine? Given the labor and resources required to make alcohol, it seems unlikely.
    www.ExperienceTequila.com

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuintoSol View Post
    Would you mind citing your source for such information; I'd love to read more about it. TIA.
    I was thinking of a class I took on Mesoamerican Prehistory. I can't name any specific texts offhand, but I vaguely recall Bernal Díaz de Castillo or maybe one of the other cronistas mentioning pulque in his chronicles. Doing a Google Scholar search for pulque+mexica I found this list of sources on alcohol in Latin America: Bibliografia sobre consumo de alcohol en América Latina

    Tom Abercrombie's book 'Pathways of memory and power' is where I read about chicha in the Andes.

  3. #13
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    I did a quick search and I found the following.

    Aztecs also used maguey extensively; from it they obtained food, sugar (aguamiel–honey water), drink (pulque), and fibers for ropes and clothing.
    It would be interesting to know which type of mezcal plant was used. Several, I imagine.

    Although one could drink pulque, a fermented beverage with an alcoholic content equivalent to beer, getting drunk before the age of 60 was forbidden. While the first time was punished, repeat incidents could be punished by death.
    While pulque might have been used in religious rituals by priests (the highest ranking ones were just below the Emperor), priests' most important role was to offer human sacrifice to the gods.

    The quotes were taken from a rather interesting overview of the Mexica (Aztecs). Click here to read the entire article.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuintoSol View Post
    While pulque might have been used in religious rituals by priests (the highest ranking ones were just below the Emperor), priests' most important role was to offer human sacrifice to the gods.
    Hey QuintoSol, I think I can safely speak on behalf of most afficionados, that if we had been around during that time, the majority of us would have already been offered for sacrifice.....whatta way to go !
    Sip & Savor... please don't shoot!

    Salud, Jim

  5. #15
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    For anyone else still interested in learning more on pre-Hispanic uses of pulque, I found an article the other day in an issue of "Arqueología mexicana" (issue 59, January-February 2003) that might be of interest: "El mural de los bebedores de Cholula, Puebla" by Dionisio Rodríguez Cabrera. (The journal is published by the National Institute of Anthropology and History.)

    Some excerpts relevant to our discussion: "La primera información sobre el consumo de bebidas intoxicantes en el México prehispánico proviene de las fuentes del siglo XVI, en las que se menciona la manera en que fueron utilizadas en los contextos social y religioso. Estos datos se han reforzado con las imágenes asociadas a este ritual representadas en murales, códices y vasijas" (p. 33). The article goes on to describe the discovery of a mural in Cholula that depicts what archaeologists believe to be a pulque ceremony: "El mural se puede entender como un registro del ritual asociado a la bebida del pulque. Posiblemente se trate de una ceremonia en la que, mediante esa bebida, se vincula a los dioses con los hombres, de un sistema de comunicación que reafirma un pensamiento religioso. Tal vez a ello se deba que el mural estaba a la vista pública, como instrumento para reforzar valores; además, se sabe que fue retocado y repintado para ocasiones especiales. En conclusión, en el Mural de los Bebedores se representa a una sociedad que establece contacto con los dioses y antepasados para legitimarse y asegurar abundancia y continuidad. A pesar de compartir estos rasgos con otros murales, es probablemente único en su género debido a la manera en que establece la comunicación entre lo humano y lo sagrado a través del pulque" (p. 37).

    As I find more concrete sources (I'm curious about the cronistas' reports, especially) I'll be sure to share them here. Also, regarding contemporary pulque consumption, there's a recent documentary by Everardo González called "La canción del pulque" about a pulquería in downtown Mexico City (if I'm recalling correctly). I haven't seen it, but when I do I'll certainly share my impressions.

    Hasta pronto, bebedores.
    x.

  6. #16
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    I watched the documentary La canción del pulque last night and have to say it was thoroughly uninformative (not to mention poorly constructed and sloppily edited). It consists almost entirely of lazy, meandering interviews with the drunk patrons of a pulquería in Mexico City, intercut with totally decontextualized interviews with a pulque producer somewhere in the provincia -- either in Puebla or Tlaxcala. (The director couldn't even be bothered to identify his informants or locations.) The main message of the film seems to be that pulque drinkers are toothless, under class drunkards. Great work!

    So, I wouldn't recommend anyone else make an effort to track it down. If and when I find more substantial information on the subject, I'll try to share it.
    xf.

  7. #17
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    In my one-man crusade to proselytize the genuine riqueza of pulque on here, I'd like to mention that for anyone visiting Mexico City, a new, "upscale" cantina (if that's not an oxymoron) has opened in La Roma, serving a passable pulque natural and several tasty pulques curados daily. It's called Los Insurgentes, located on Insurgentes Sur between Colima and Durango (right by the Durango stop on the Metrobus). The crowd tends toward kids in their twenties, and the jukebox is dominated by awful, dated rock en español, but it's a cool space and the curados are the best I've had in the city.

    Since my last couple of posts I've also had a chance to visit with an individual pulque producer in the hills of Puebla and can say that there's definitely nothing like fresh pulque (and even fresher aguamiel) so if anyone's interested in recommendations for outside the city, feel free to PM me.

  8. #18
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    Chris- What is a curado? Also, the two times I had pulque, it loosened my stomach... is this normal? Do "real" pulqueros make the stuff from blue agave? or from any mezcal?

    BTW- I thought aguamiel was way too sweet for my palate... does anyone nowadays extract the aguamiel the ancient way?

    Thank you for your input.

  9. #19
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    Hey Quinto,

    A curado is a pulque that's been "cured" (usually just by being combined in a blender) with some additional natural flavor, usually a fruit or a vegetable, but sometimes something like coffee or chocolate. (Some of them are made with milk, so any lactose intolerant folks have to be somewhat careful with curados.)

    I didn't know which species of Agave produce aguamiel, so I did a quick Google search and found this book, Biodiversity and Native America, which lists five species of agualmiel-producing Agaves: americana, hookeri, atrovirens, salmiana, and mapisaga (p. 62).

    The producer in northern Puebla who showed me his production cycle uses an acocote (a long, hardened gourd with holes at each end) to siphon the aguamiel from the heart of the maguey, but I'm not sure whether this is a relatively recent technological invention or something much older.

    Hope that helps!

  10. #20
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    Chris- Thank you for enlightening me (us?)... it is refreshing to learn more about the original mexica drink. Too bad I would have to travel to the DF to have other types.

    I imagine if I were to offer it in the US, hardly anyone would buy it... the fresh kind that is.

    What are your thoughts on tepache?

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