Uncool Aztec cocktail suddenly hip again in Mexico

Tue Sep 6, 2011 6:06pm EDT
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By Lissette Romero

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Move over tequila. Another potent alcoholic drink is warming the bodies of Mexico City's hip young drinkers.

Brewed by Aztec ancestors over a thousand years before and having survived the Spanish colonialists and mass European migration the traditional beverage, pulque, once deemed uncool is making a comeback.

Business is booming for the pulque producers in Mexico's central heartland of Tlaxcala. Made from an agave plant native to the country called maguey, pulque is derived from the plant's sap pulled from its roots and left to ferment in vats for 48 hours.

The result is a slimy alcoholic beverage that pre-dates tequila by a long shot and a drink that has been both revered and reviled over the centuries.

Once a drink for Aztec nobleman and today's beverage of choice for the traditional Mexican working class, a museum exhibition dedicated to the tumultuous times of the pulque has opened in Mexico City.

"Between the Aztecs the drink was reserved for the nobles and priests for ceremonial use and for pregnant women. The Aztecs had a high regard for this sticky beverage," said museum director Salvador Zarco.

Showcasing all things pulque, the exhibition covers traditional production techniques, an ancient map of the country where the potent drink was produced and a life-sized model of Mexico City's pulque bars, "pulquerias," to show off a drink that has occupied an important part of the country's history from its pre-Hispanic era, through revolutionary struggles and to the drinkers of today.

"The idea behind promoting these cantinas at this exhibition is to show off the image of pulque and everything surrounding its production process, consumption and economy," said exhibition curator Miguel Angel Corona.   Continued...