It’s not tequila or mezcal.
Mexico’s oldest alcoholic drink is pulque, the “drink of the gods,” according to the Aztecs.
Made from the fermented agave sap, pulque became widely available and the first pulquerías opened in the 1500s.
In the early 20th century there were more than 1,000 working-class pulquerías in Mexico City.
By the 1950s, its popularity plummeted, giving way to beer and soda.
But now it’s in vogue again, at least in Mexico City. Insurgentes in the Roma neighborhood is an example of a hip and urban pulquería.
Although more associated with central Mexico, this ancestral drink is celebrated with the fifth edition of a cultural festival in Mérida.
Pulque is enjoying a growing acceptance among Yucatecans, said Ricardo Venscer, organizer of the festival, which will also include music and dance.
The festival will be held in San Sebastian on Calle 70, No. 560, between 71 and 73, on Friday, Aug. 3 and Saturday, Aug. 4. It will serve more than 300 liters of natural pulque brought directly from Tlaxcala and Hidalgo.
The drink can be slimy and sour-tasting in its natural state, but is mixed with fruits and veggies to enhance its taste. Pulque cocktails come in flavors like watermelon-epazote, jicama-chile and corn-pineapple.
Aside from being high in alcohol content, it is also rich in probiotics, vitamins and minerals. Devotees believe it can cure everything from digestive disorders to diabetes.
“The agave nectar, apart from being a sweet drink, pleasant to the senses and refreshing, has certain nutritional properties such as B vitamins, minerals and proteins, while pulque has been assigned some medicinal qualities such as combating gastrointestinal disorders, anorexia, asthenia and renal infections,” commented Venscer.