Pulque is an alcoholic beverage made from the fermented sap of the maguey plant. It is traditional to central Mexico, where it has been produced for millennia. It has the color of milk, somewhat viscous consistency and a sour yeast-like taste.
The drink’s history extends far back into the Mesoamerican period, when it was considered sacred, and its use was limited to certain classes of people. After the Spanish Conquest of Mexico, the drink became secular and its consumption rose. The consumption of pulque reached its peak in the late 19th century. In the 20th century, the drink fell into decline, mostly because of competition from beer, which became more prevalent with the arrival of European immigrants. There are some efforts to revive the drink’s popularity through tourism.
Yesterday I visited Pulquería Miktlan, one of the better known pulquerias in Oaxaca. It’s not a large space, but pleasant with several tables. Local men played cards, a small family gathered to share some pulque, as did my friend.
While you can drink pulque natural, most people opt to mix it. Yesterday’s choices included beet juice, celery juice and oatmeal among others. Gaby chose beet and I selected oatmeal topped with a little bit of cinnamon. Both tasted really good to me.
If you want a change from mezcal look for pulque.