WRITTEN BY HARRY HALLER ILLUSTRATED BY FRANCESCA COSANTI
other Nature wants you to drink. If She didn't, pulque would not exist. Pulque—also known as Octli—is an ancient Aztec alcohol made from the sap of a mature Maguey Agave plant. Left alone, the sap can collect in the plant's hollow head and spontaneously ferment without any human interference. The magic behind this transformation stems from the unique metabolism of the microbiota found inside the Maguey. Feeding off the phytochemicals of the sap, bacteria and yeast—introduced into the Maguey by insects and dust—play off of each other to create the Pulque. A predominance of lactic-acid producing bacteria due to the neutral Ph of the environment kick-starts the fermentation process. As the fermentation progresses, the acidity level of the sap increases and yeast begins to outnumber the bacteria. Eventually, the yeast takes over the fermentation, converting the sap's sugar into alcohol. After a few days the sap turns milky and slightly foamy, a sign the Pulque is ready to drink. Commercial production of Pulque aims to mirror this process. Harry Haller is an independent consultant focused on working with sugarcanebased distilleries. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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