Pulque comes from the heart of the blue maguey, or agave, cactus, which — when punctured at maturity — produces a sweet sap called aguamiel, or honey water. In the Codex Borbonicus from the 1530s, written by Aztec priests, there is a pictograph of the goddess of maguey, Mayahuel, with a pot of the frothy happy times.
The Spanish conquistadors turned up their noses. But what did they know (they knew grapes).
In 1886, one census counts 817 pulquerias in Mexico City, at a time where there were only 9,000 homes, according to Mario Ramirez Rancanio, historian at the Autonomous National University of Mexico.
Story: William Booth, Washington Post | Photo: William Booth, Washington Post