Pulque is a traditional alcoholic beverage native to central Mexico which has a history extending back hundreds if not thousands of years. Pulque is a cloudy, slightly alcoholic drink made from the sweet sap of cacti such as Maguey or Agave.
In the native tongue of the Nahuatl, the plant is called Metl. There are many rumors as to how Pulque is made in villages near Vera Cruz, it is rumored that the drink was made by chewing on the root of the cactus and spitting the sweet juice into a bowl.
It is said that Pulque also is valued for its tradition. My recipe is a far cry from REAL Pulque, but it is a delightful Agave Syrup based alcoholic beverage. And it doesn't involve any saliva in the ingredient list.
I make this version of "Pulque" with standard B Grade or Dark Agave Syrup. Make sure that there are no admixtures in your agave syrup it should be pure, and preferably organic.
|4 Gallons Spring Water or Filtered Water|
|8 1/2 Pounds Dark Agave Nectar|
|1/2 Ounce dried Coriander Seeds|
|1 pack Champagne Yeast|
Water is one of the most important ingredients in brewing, so I always suggest that water used be spring water or filtered to remove chlorine, fluoride, and any other nasty chemicals which could throw off the taste of the brew or support bacteria. Make sure your yeast is primed and ready to go in a sterile jar before the brew day it is wise to make the yeast starter 1-2 days beforehand.
I have feeling that the Pulque I tried in Vera Cruz was not boiled, and was made with rainwater. The drink had a milky opaque quality to it, and was slightly viscous just a little slimy in its mouth feel. My "Pulque Coriander", on the other hand, turns out quite clear and slightly carbonated. It is roughly like a very delicious wine cooler, but still has a very slight viscous mouth feel very slight.
On brew day, prepare and sanitize your primary fermenter while the four gallons of pure water is coming to a boil. Once the boil has started, it is time to give the coriander seeds a rough crushing, to facilitate the release of their flavors. Next, remove the brew pot from heat and add the Agave syrup. Stir well. Next, add the crushed coriander seeds and boil for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Leave the coriander seeds in the brew for the entire life of the beverage even up to consumption. The Coriander adds a really delightful lemon citrus floral aroma and taste to the brew, which compliments the tang and sweetness of the agave syrup refreshingly.
Coriander is the seed of the cilantro plant, a plant commonly used in food from many reaches of the earth, including Mexico. Cilantro can be described by those who do not like it as tasting "like soap", but for most people, the intensely green and slightly astringent taste makes most food feel more fresh in the mouth, especially salsa. The seed of the cilantro plant has a much different taste than the leaves, however. Coriander is an ingredient in some Belgian Wheat beers, along with orange peel, to add a citrus character.
Once the wort has cooled, pour it into a primary fermentation vessel, along with the coriander seeds, and pitch the yeast. This drink ferments rather quickly for a non malt based beverage, and something about the viscous quality of the agave helps to keep the carbonation suspended in the brew. The fermentation should be racked after two to three weeks, and then after another week, tested for remaining sweetness, carbonation, and general taste. I serve this drink from pitchers and do not bottle it, although I am sure that it would be delightful, but it is likely that the bottles might build up too much pressure if they were not drunk within two weeks, due to the complex sugars in the brew. One would have to either pasteurize the bottles, or wait until the fermentation is complete before bottling. My batches do not last long.
The best way to enjoy this drink is over ice, with a slice of lime on a hot day. Cheers!