It’s Mexico’s oldest alcoholic drink, and after years of declining popularity, it’s making a comeback.
CCTV America’s Martin Markovits reports from Mexico City. Follow Martin Markovits on Twitter @MartinMarkovits
For more than four decades, Rodolfo del Razo has worked on his family’s ranch producing the ancient Mexican drink, pulque. Considered sacred by the Aztecs, it’s known for its dreamy intoxicating effect.
The once popular frothy drink lost its appeal after a campaign by beer companies claiming its production was unsanitary. But it’s now having resurgence, thanks largely to younger Mexicans.
Rodolfo De Razo said that in the last decade pulque production at his ranch has gone up by more than 30 percent.
“People know now that pulque is produced in a clean, hygenic way,” De Razo said. “And also people drink it again because it’s a return to our culture and tradition.”
That tradition goes back 2,000 years when the Aztecs fermented the sap of the maguey plant, commonly known as American aloe. Rich in protein and vitamins, the Aztecs believed it could cure everything from diabetes to sleep disorders. It was widely consumed by most Mexicans until the mid-20th century before beer became widespread.
Pulque is having a rebound in popularity. More than 5,000 people attended the first annual pulque festival in Mexico City.
According to Mexico’s secretary of agriculture, pulque production has gone up more than 20 percent since 2010. Many Mexicans now see it almost as a patriotic duty to drink it instead of beer and liquor.
“For us Mexicans, pulque represents Mexico,” Queztal Garcia, a pulque consumer said. “A multinational corporation does not make it. It’s something regional, and that’s why we are defending it.”
Pulque popularity has now spread beyond Mexico. It’s sold as a carbonated drink and exported to the U.S. and Europe.