Pulque, Ancient Aztec Agave Brew, Gains Popularity Among Hip Mexican Drinkers
Hip Mexicans, perhaps feeling that tequila has jumped the shark, have apparently started to reach into their cultural heritage for their new drink of choice—way back. According to a "Letter From Mexico City" in the Washington Post, the new hot drink for twenty-somethings in Mexico City is pulque, a pulpy alcoholic smoothie made from the fermented sap of the maguey plant. In a way, pulque is to tequila what beer is to whisky: frothier, older, and lower in alcohol. Its raw, fresh-brewed nature makes it difficult to ship, so it's only just starting to gain a toehold in the American market. Indeed, its local nature may be a reason for its recent revival.
Residents of Mexico have apparently been brewing the drink for around 1000 years; it predates tequila by centuries. In the mid-twentieth-century, beer manufacturers tried to portray the indigenous beverage as filthy, unsuitable for modern palates. They succeeded. Pulque became the refuge of the old and the poor—it was not cool. When Anthony Bourdain tasted pulque No Reservations, he presented pulque as low-brow hooch, calling it "as delicious and nutritious as Ryan Seacrest's love juice." Here's the video: