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9 strange brews from around the world

By: Josh Lew on Nov. 4, 2014, 10:48 a.m.
Oatmeal, guava and tomato pulque

Photo: katiebordner/flickr

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Tequila is just one product made from agave. The most traditional drink to come from the famous cactus species is pulque. This beverage is easily recognizable because of its milky color and thick texture. It is made from the sap of the agave, which is collected and fermented. This drink has a long history, with artifacts proving that it was used by Aztecs as early as the 11th century.

Once the cactus becomes productive, the sap is drained daily and collected in a natural bowl created at the center of the plant. The alcohol content of the finished product is similar to beer, and the thick texture leads some people to compare it to milk or cream. In Mexico, beer was actively promoted in the 19th and 20th centuries as a “hygienic” alternative to the traditionally made pulque. Ironically, modern studies have shown that pulque is actually packed with nutrients (such as vitamins C, B, D and E, as well as amino acids and iron). Today, the drink remains popular in many rural areas of Mexico, and there has been a push to revive interest through tourism.