It is not only tequila and mezcal, know the traditional Mexican drinks product of the Mexican agave

Tequila and mezcal are two of the most recognized Mexican agave drinks worldwide, but they are not the only ones.

In Mexico there is a great diversity of agaves, 200 species, of which 75% are native to the country and 69% are endemic (only found in the country) according to the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). It is to be expected that there will be drinks made from different varieties of agave and with some differences in their production processes.

In addition to tequila and mezcal, there are other distilled beverages such as bacanora, raicilla, and others that, although not distilled, are of great tradition, such as pulque. It is the type of agave, which initially gives a different flavor to each of the drinks.

1. Pulque: the oldest agave drink

This is how they separate the mead from the maguey plant, in Ixmiquilpan. Photo: EFE

Pulque, also called “nectar of the gods” It is a product of the maguey that according to legend is the goddess Mayáhuel turned into a plant. Pulque is not a distilled drink, but it is “one of the oldest fermented drinks in the world,” says the Ministry of Agriculture of the Mexican government.

In pre-Hispanic times it was used exclusively by the Aztec elite, and was also reserved for ceremonies and rituals, as well as for nursing mothers and the elderly.

It is a foamy and complex drink to which medicinal properties and nutritional benefits are attributed. It can favor the intestinal microbiota.

Photo: German Lopez/Pixabay

2. Tequila

It is a distillate exclusively made from “agave tequilana weber blue varietyhe”. The pineapples are cooked in masonry ovens or in autoclaves. It has a Denomination of Origin (DOT). It occurs in Jalisco, in addition to certain regions of Nayarit, Michoacán, Guanajuato and Tamaulipas. Jalisco is the only state in which all its municipalities have the DOT.

3. Mezcal

Photo: Achim Schleuning/Creative Commons

Mezcal can be obtained from a greater variety of species of maguey or agave. Each mezcal is associated with a species already a peasant region. The mezcal process is usually more traditional and is carried out in conical stone ovens. That’s where the flavor comes from. smoked characteristic of the drink.

The Denomination of Origin indicates that it should be produced in Oaxaca, Guerrero, Michoacan, Tamaulipas, Durango, Guanajuato, San Luis Potosí, Zacatecas and Puebla.

4. Bacanora

Foto: Jicara Foodie Traveller/Creative Commons

It is a distillate with a flavor is sweeter, like freshly cooked agave pineapple, full-bodied, and a higher alcohol content. It is made from the juice of the head of Agave Pacifica, also called Agave Yaquiana that grows in the region of the sonoran sierra.

It is a fermented and distilled roasted mezcal with a unique flavor. It was in the town of Bacanora where production began more than 300 years ago. It has Denomination of Origin.

5. Raicilla

Foto: Bursera Linanoe/Creative Commons

The color of the rootlet is brown, its flavor is sweet and velvety. It is produced in the mountains and on the coast, where it has pepper, mineral and tropical fruit flavors.

Two varieties of agave are used to make the raicilla: the lechuguilla and the raicilla of the inaequidens and maximiliana species. It has Denomination of Origin in 16 municipalities of Jalisco and one of Nayarit.

Sotol: the distillate of the Tarahumaras does not come from the agave

Foto: Jicara Foodie Traveller/Creative Commons

It is a strong distillate with a smoky flavor. The autochthonous indigenous people of northern Mexico (Tarahumaras and Anazasis), for 800 years, have made sotol to perform religious ceremonies and as a medicinal remedy. It is traditional in the deserts of Chihuahua, Coahuila and Durango and has a Denomination of Origin.

Although it is compared to mezcal, because its process for obtaining it is similar. The sotol comes from a group of plants of the genus dasylirionknown as sotol or sereque of the Asparagaceae family, not from the agave family.

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