ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Origin, Properties, Elaboration and Future of Pulque

Updated on April 27, 2019

The History of Pulque, the Ancient Mexican Drink.

Origin, properties, elaboration, and future of pulque


Pulque is a traditional alcoholic beverage from Mexico made from maguey juice. Legend has it that the origin of pulque was a coincidence. Around the year 1340, a peasant named Papantzin was walking by a magueyal and noticed a liquid that ran through the earth. He stopped to see where that liquid came from and saw a little mountain mouse scampering away. Papantzin realized that the mouse was drinking the juice of a maguey through a small hole so he tried it and liked the taste so much that he took it to his house so that his family could enjoy it.


Thanks to a small mouse, Papantzin discovered the main ingredient of pulque: mead or maguey juice. Many food properties are attributed to pulque. It is said that the indigenous Mexicans did not have any white hair when the Spaniards arrived and their secret was pulque. Likewise, the Baron de Humboldt affirmed, in the nineteenth century, that pulque was one of the reasons why Mexicans were in such good health. The mead was also studied by researcher Sánchez, who discovered that it is rich in sugars, mineral salts, proteins, and vitamins.


The process of making pulque is rudimentary. The first step is to cut the leaves to reach the heart of the maguey. Then a cut is made in the heart of the maguey to obtain the mead, which is a transparent liquid. Then the mead is taken to a place to rest. Then the fermentation process takes place: the mead becomes whitish and foamy and the characteristic hum of alcoholic fermentation is heard. Once the fermentation stage has finished, the maguey juice has been transformed into an alcoholic beverage: pulque and its aroma, taste, and smell have changed.

Until the beginning of the twentieth century, pulque enjoyed great popularity in Mexico. The pulquerías abounded, they were premises to those that went exclusively to consume the pulque. The facades of the pulquerías were decorated with murals and it was very common for the floor to be made of sawdust or tamped earth. The clients of the pulquerías used to throw a little pulque to the ground so that Mother Earth could also drink. There were several glass containers for pulque. The largest was the ¨macetas¨ of two liters of capacity but there were also other smaller containers such as ¨cañones¨, ¨chivitos¨, the ¨catrinas¨, and the ¨tomillos¨.

The government of Mexico decided to campaign for the purpose of eliminating pulque in the 1920s. The fermentation and the elaboration of pulque, where other ingredients are added to "cure" it, such as avocado, pineapple, lemon, orange or peanuts, make its smell strong enough. In addition, the texture of the pulque is slimy and that's why some people thought it was a disgusting drink. The Mexican government believed that pulque was not hygienic and that it contained a lot of alcohol, so they decided to promote the use of beer, which seemed much more modern and familiar to them than pulque. At that time it was believed that beer was dietetic, raised blood pressure and helped mothers to have more breast milk. As a consequence of this governmental campaign, pulque has almost disappeared.

The future of pulque

In summary, pulque is a traditional Mexican alcoholic beverage with a fairly simple manufacturing process, which is attributed to numerous nutritional properties, which makes those who consume this drink enjoy good health. But, at the beginning of the twentieth century, the Mexican government decided to replace pulque with beer and this caused that the consumption of pulque, today, is relegated to rural areas and the outskirts of cities. I think it is likely that this situation will not improve in the coming years and I am afraid that more and more foreign drinks will be consumed in Mexico. But I hope that the Mexicans will try to recover this ancient tradition and that the pulquerías will return to the big cities of the country.

© 2019 Araceli Figueira Caamaño


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)