Before there was beer, there was Pulque. Week 19 in our Year of Drinking Adventurously finds up discussing a cousin of mezcal. I glossed over mezcal last week in favor of tequila, but to play catch-up for a moment, mezcal is a spirit distilled from agave, like tequila, but tends to be earthier and smokier than tequila, somewhat akin to the peatiness of scotch.
Fast forward to this week, pulque is a fermented, but not distilled beverage. According to our author, it is a mildly sweet, viscous beverage that dates back sometime to the Aztec Empire. It’s exact origins are not entirely clear, but there’s a legend that a woman came upon 400 rabbits and as she approached them, all but one scattered. The one that remained was running in circles “like a lopsided drunkard”. Now if that doesn’t paint a pretty picture. She followed the drunk bunny, who led her to an agave plant that was leaking nectar. It spontaneously fermented and intoxicated the bunny. She took this back to her village and they took this as a sign from the gods. She was dubbed Mayahuel, goddess of the maguey plant.
Pulque was pervasive throughout Mexico until about a century ago, when it faded from popularity. According to the mom and pop pulque shops, the beer distributors started a smear campaign about how unsanitary pulque was. Our author gives the impression he doesn’t put much stock in this reason for the decline in pulque; but I’ll say a smear campaign worked on absinthe. Also, a couple years ago Costco showed what big money backing a ballot initiative could do in the state of Oregon. Like many smart artisan products though, pulque is experiencing a resurgence. It just hasn’t made it to Memphis.
Neither has mezcal, or based on the feedback when I inquired in at least six different liquor stores, the mezcal resurgence hasn’t made it here. We used to carry that or we discontinued it was what I heard from each store where I inquired. Just when I was about to throw up my hands in a fit of failure, I looked over and saw an intriguing little bottle… an agave liqueur. $17, what’s to loose?
Upon arriving home, I tasted it straight and it had a nice flavor, with just a hint of tequila, and not overly sweet like some liqueurs. I took to the google for some inspiration and a jumping off point of what to do with little lovely. I found a recipe for a riff on a pomegranate cosmo, but I can never follow a recipe as it’s written. Here’s what I did:
1 oz Agavero
1 1/2 oz tequila
3/4 oz pomegranate juice
1/2 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
1/2 oz ginger liqueur
Combine all in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until chilled and poured into a coupe glass.
This was delightful while sitting on the patio enjoying the evening. It certainly made any remaining frustrations from the work day vanish.
Here’s to Toasting another Tuesday! Cheers y’all and be sure to check out what Meg drank this week.