Mexico’s rich local liquor contains many things you may not know

The first experience with the term Mexican spirit liquor (tequila, mezcal, etc.) was the rotting one available in a plastic honeycomb-like jug when living on the Arizona border.

Since then, I have been educated.

Distillation was unknown in Mesoamerica. The Spaniards brought in brandy (distilled wine), but to protect winemaking in their home countries, Spain banned non-priests from making alcoholic beverages in Mexico.

Of course, people always find ways to circumvent such bans. Unable to grow large quantities of grapes, New Spanish residents have found other sources of fermentable sugar.

PulqueFermented Ryuzetsuran sapKnown to the indigenous peoples of Mexico for centuries before the conquest, drinks are not retained. Also, the original people of Mexico had the technology to harvest and cook the “heart” of various agave plants and utilize the sugar stored in them. These minds are the source of mezcal and tequila — The latter are various mezcal in Tequila, Jalisco.

This print by Jose Guadalu Peposada, Pulque maker skeletonEvidence of the history of Maggie botanical beverages held by the National Museum of Art, Osaka.

There are more than 150 species of agave in Mexico. At least 22 are good for making alcohol. The sweet liquid from the heart of cooked agave had the advantage of not only being distillable and storable, but also relatively easy to hide from the authorities. Different types of agave come in a variety of flavors, from neutral to something like taking off your socks.

Oaxaca is best known in Mezcal, but its production is found in many states of Mexico, from Chiapas and Yucatan to the northern border.Most of these are called MezcalBut some are called by other names and can make them look like completely different liquors.

Besides tequila StupidMezcal produced in and around Bacanora, Sonora. Its production and consumption have been banned for decades until the 20th century and are as relevant to local history as American moonshine.

It is legal again and is resurrected. Producers are experimenting with versions that include almond, pecan, and pine nut flavors.

Other mezcal named after their place of origin, Chichiu Arco With Guerrero tuxca From Jalisco and Colima.

Some are named after the diversity of agave. SotorNamed after Chihuahua sotol Agave. Heniken (Sometimes called sisal), Yucatan Peninsula liquor is made from the same agave that produces the rope. Lechuguilla When Bingo Rote It is also derived from the name of each agave plant.

Bakanora is a mezcal of Sonora origin and is considered part of the national identity. Jikara Hoodie Traveler

And then there is rum. Although Mexicans do not consider themselves rum drinkers, sugar cane alcohol has played an important role in many Mexican drinking habits.

The reason is that sugar cane alcohol is not called rum here, even in Veracruz and Yucatan, which are adjacent to the Caribbean Sea. It’s wide variety of local names comes from references to the different preparations and places where it is made.

Therefore, to associate different formulations and distinguish them from rum, which is popular in other parts of the New World, I call it Mexican sugar cane-based alcohol. KahnyaSpanish for canes.

distillation Kahnya It began in areas where the Spaniards introduced sugarcane cultivation, but its popularity exceeded those hot and humid areas. This is because sugar cane juice can be dried, transported and easily rehydrated for fermentation.

Straight Kahnya Most likely to be found in sugar cane growing areas such as Morelos and parts of Michoacan. In fact, Aguardiente de Cagna from Zakualpan in Morelos reconsidered my definition. Aguardiente.. It’s a good rum.

Mezcal can be mixed with other flavors and is mixed, but most often taken in shots with citrus and / or salt and / or worm chaser. on the other hand, Kahnya Most often drunk in preparations containing other flavors added during and / or after the fermentation and distillation process. The different names for these beverages refer to these different preparations, Kahnya base.

Veracruz peanut-flavored trito beverage
Homemade peanut flavor TritosA popular sugar cane drink in Veracruz. Nacht Bel / Creative Commons

There is one example that you are familiar with. It is Kahlua, a coffee and cream liqueur made in Veracruz.Very similar TritosMixture of Kahnya Other flavors of dairy products that are popular in the same state.

If you live in Mexico, you’ve probably seen it too Ronpope, An egg-based sugar cane liqueur found in supermarkets and popular for Christmas. They have long been made in monasteries and monasteries.

In many parts of the country Kahnya Traditionally, it has been soaked with local fruits, nuts and herbs to produce liqueur for digestif and medicinal consumption. They go by countless names: acachul When yolixpa In Puebla Verde When Morita Xico, Veracruz, and Mystera In Chiapas, Oaxaca, Yucatan, Campeche, etc.

Most are produced by homes or small businesses and sold in markets and roadside shops, but some are at least locally commercialized.

One is mosquitoSweet liqueur with orange flavor from ToruCa, and DamianaNamed after the plant that flavors Baja California’s liqueur (Turnera diffusa). The latter has become almost synonymous with the Damiana Guaycura brand because of its unique bottle.

Most famous Kahnya I’m drinking straight Caranda, From Michoacan. Named after the town of the state, the town can be fermented and distilled from pure sugar or with the addition of grapes and other fruits to change its flavor. It used to be very cheap alcohol, but the price of a better brand is now the same as the price of other spirits.

A variation of Mezcal native to Chihuahua, Sotor is one of the most well-known regional beverages in Mexico.

Caranda In Michoacan, it may be called by other names depending on where it was made, but now that name is regulated by the federal government, just like tequila.

Curiously, corn did not become a widely used base for making alcohol in Mexico. According to food and spirit expert Nils Bernstein, the reason is that it is much easier to extract fermented sugar from agave and sugar cane than corn, and it is very starchy, which is especially preferred in Mexico. It is a quality variety.

Brandy is known here and is often drunk with Coca-Cola, but almost all of it is the Presidente brand manufactured by Domecq. Mexico has also begun producing a variety of spirits, including gin, vodka and even sake, none of which is considered traditional.

Leigh Thelmadatter arrived in Mexico 18 years ago and fell in love with the land and culture, especially its handicrafts and arts.She is the author of Mexican Cartoneria: Paper, Paste, Fiesta (Schiffer 2019).Her cultural column is displayed regularly Mexico News Daily.. Mexico’s rich local liquor contains many things you may not know

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