Nectar of the Gods or aguamiel – honey water – like Pulque is called. But what is Pulque?
Pulque is the sap (plant juice) of Agaves, the maguey plant. It’s like maple syrup and birch water or palm sap which also can be fermented. It’s made out of the plant juice instead of fruits. Somehow you can compare pulque to fruitwine. Because it’s still fermenting like fresh fizzy apple cider kind of – but tastes very differently.
What is the main difference to wine? Funny! Pulque is NOT fermented by yeast. The bacterium Zymomonas mobilis is capable of alcoholic fermentation and also very fast executing it compared to yeasts. It’s one of the rare examples of alcoholic beverages not produced by yeasts and this kind of beverage is very, very old.
To get to the juice or the pulque you have to cut off the flower stalk of a mature plant. The plant still sends up water and nutrients (sugar) to the stalk. But removing of the stalk leaves a hole in there. Here the sap (plant juice) collects and can be harvested by siphoning. Because Zymomonas mobilis is very fast growing and fermenting, the juice is always alcoholic and has between 2% and 5%Vol. alcohol.
Here is an example from youtube – but there are lots more
Pulque and Tequila?
Tequila is a region the beverage is named by and made of the blue agave. The pulp of agaves is steam-cooked, fermented and distilled. Only true Tequila is fermented by Zymomonas mobilis but yeasts are also used nowadays.
Mezcal is made of any kind of agave and has no specific origin like Tequila. But it’s also a spirit made of agaves so both are very similar.
The caterpillar in the mezcal bottle was a simple marketing gag – no more no less – and to promote the brand against stronger labels and Tequila
Another Example of a fermented beverage from sap is Toddy – Palmwine