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Mexico's oldest alcoholic drink regains popularity

Reporter: Xu Zhen 丨 CCTV.com

08-17-2016 15:08 BJT

It is Mexico’s oldest alcoholic drink. And after years of declining popularity, pulque is making a comeback.

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 is known for its dreamy intoxicating effect.  

Del Razo said, “They call it mystical because of the magical impact it has once you drink it. It’s not the same as rum or wine or any other drink. When you drink pulque you feel you are in the clouds.”  

The once popular frothy drink, the color of milk, lost its appeal after a campaign by beer companies claiming its production was unsanitary. But it is now having a resurgence, thanks largely to younger Mexicans. Del Razo says in the last decade pulque production at his ranch has gone up by more then 30 percent.

“People know now that pulque is produced in a clean, hygenic way. And also people drink it again because it's a return to our culture and tradition,” said Del Razo.

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. The event has been a great success, especially with the young.

Many Mexicans now see it almost as a patriotic duty to drink it instead of beer and liquor.

“For us Mexicans, pulque represents Mexico. A multinational corporation does not make it. It’s something regional, and that’s why we are defending it,” said Queztal Garcia, a pulque consumer.

Pulque popularity has now spread beyond Mexico. It is sold as a carbonated drink and exported to the U.S. and Europe, a stunning comeback for a drink long considered passe.

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